Stewart announces bid for top council seat

She'll run against both her fellow Clark County councilors; Benton's wife files for District 2 race

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List of candidates

Filing week ended with 115 candidates declaring their candidacy in 80 offices between Clark County and jurisdictions in both Clark and Cowlitz counties. Candidates have until 5 p.m. Monday to withdraw their candidacy in writing to the Clark County Elections Department, and will not receive a refund on their filing fee. For jurisdictions where no one filed, the county will hold a special three-day filing period June 15, 16 and 17.

Clark County

o Council, District No. 2: Julie Olson (Republican), Tanner Martin (No party preference), Chuck Green (Democrat), Mary Benton (Republican), Mike Pond, (Democrat).

o Council, chair (at-large): Tom Mielke (Republican), David -Madore (Republican), Marc Boldt (no party preference), Jeanne Stewart (Republican), Mike Dalesandro (Democrat).

Clark Superior Court

o Judge, Position 3: Derek J. Vanderwood.

o Judge, Position 6: John P. Fairgrieve.

City of Battle Ground

o Council, Position No. 2: Shane A. Bowman.

o Council, Position No. 3: Steven Douglas Phelps.

o Council, Position No. 7: Philip Johnson, Candy Bonneville.

City of Camas

o Mayor: Scott Higgins.

o Council, Ward 1, Position No. 1: Timothy J. Hazen, Shawn High.

o Council, Ward 2, Position No. 1: Bonnie Carter

o Council, Ward 3, Position No. 1: Greg K. Anderson.

o Council, at-large position: Don Chaney.

City of La Center

o Mayor: Al Luiz, Greg Thornton.

o Council, Position No. 1: Heather Birdwell-Currey.

o Council, Position No. 4: Joe Valenzuela.

o Council, Position No. 5: Elizabeth M. Cerveny.

City of Ridgefield

o Council, Position No. 2: David T-aylor, Maria Salazar, Michael Harris.

o Council, Position No. 3: Lee E. Wells.

o Council, Position No. 5: Darren S. Wertz.

o Council, Position No. 7: Sandra Day.

City of Vancouver

o Council, Position No. 4: Bart Hansen, Justin Forsman.

o Council, Position No. 5: Ty Stober, Linda Glover, Kathleen Metzger.

o Council, Position No. 6: George R. Francisco, Bill Turlay.

City of Washougal

o Council, Position No. 2: Michelle C. Wagner.

o Council, Position No. 4: Joyce Lindsay, Jason Dodge.

o Council, Position No. 5: Jennifer McDaniel.

o Council, Position No. 7: Dan Coursey, Molly L. Coston.

City of Woodland

o Mayor: Will Finn.

o Council, Position No. 4: Karl A. Chapman, Grover B. Laseke.

o Council, Position No. 5: JJ Burke, Susan Humbyrd.

o Council, Position No. 7: Mike Benjamin, Matthew Jacobs.

Town of Yacolt

o Mayor: Jeff Carothers.

o Council, Position No. 3: Anthony Bronkhorst.

Cemetery District No. 1

o Commissioner, Position No. 1: John J. Straub.

Cemetery District No. 4

o Commissioner, Position No. 1: Ruth MJ Ham.

Cemetery District No. 5

o Commissioner, Position No. 3: Dick Colf.

Cemetery District No. 6

o Commissioner, Position No. 3: Stephen E. Root, James W. Landon.

Clark Regional Wastewater District

o Commissioner, Position No. 2: Norman Harker.

Clark County Fire and Rescue

o Commissioner, Position No. 2: James R. (Bob) Johnson.

East County Fire and Rescue

o Commissioner, Position No. 1: Thomas A. Gianatasio.

o Commissioner, Position No. 2: Michael Taggart.

oCommissioner, Position No. 3: Mike Berg.

o Commissioner, Position No. 5: Sherry M. Petty

Fire Protection District No. 3

o Commissioner, Position No. 5: Buck Heidrick.

Fire Protection District No. 5

o Commissioner, Position No. 3: Ron Gibson.

Fire Protection District No. 6

o Commissioner, Position No. 3: Casey M. Collins.

Fire Protection District No. 10

o Commissioner, Position No. 2: -Elizabeth "Beth" Goble.

Battle Ground School District No. 119

o School director, District No. 2: Ken Root.

o School director, District No. 4: Mavis Nickels, Dick Rylander, Ben Kapelka.

Camas School District No. 117

o School director, District No. 3: Connie Hennessey.

o School director, District No. 4: Doug Quinn.

o School director, District No. 5: Mary Tipton.

Evergreen School District No. 114

o School director, District No. 2: Rob Perkins.

o School director, District No. 3: Victoria Bradford, Frank Decker.

o School director, District No. 4: Todd Yuzuriha.

Hockinson School District No. 98

o School director, Position No. 3: Dave Olson.

o School director, Position No. 4: Greg Gospe.

o School director, Position No. 5: Katherine Davis.

La Center School District No. 101

o School director, Position No. 1: Cris Yaw.

o School director, Position No. 4: Wendy Chord.

o School director, Position No. 5: Eric Lindberg.

Mt. Pleasant School District No. 029-93

o Director 2: Adele Olson.

o Director 3: Karl Kanthak.

o Director 4: Tanis Morris.

Ridgefield School District No. 122

o School director, District No. 2: Joseph Vance.

o School director, District No. 3: Steve Radosevich.

o School director, District No. 5: Scott Gullickson.

Vancouver School District No. 37

o School director, Position No. 1: Dale Q. Rice, Heather Lindberg.

o School director, Position No. 4: Michelle Giovannozzi.

o School director, Position No. 5: Nada Wheelock, Rosemary Fryer.

Washougal School District No. 112-6

o School director, District No. 1: Teresa Lees

o School director, District No. 2: Elaine Pfeifer, Jason Ferrier.

o School director, District No. 4: Karen Rubino.

Woodland School District No. 404-102

o School director, District No. 1: Sarah Stuart

o School director, District No. 2: Janice Watts

o School director, District No. 3: Lesa Beuscher

Port of Camas-Washougal

o Commissioner, District No. 2: Bill Ward.

Port of Ridgefield

o Commissioner, District No. 3: Joe Melroy.

Port of Vancouver

o Commissioner, District No. 2: Nick Ande, Bill Hughes, Eric LaBrant, Scott Dalesandro, Peter Harrison, Robert Durgan, Lisa Ross.

Woodland Pool and Recreation

o Commissioner, Position No. 3: Michael Green.

List of candidates

Filing week ended with 115 candidates declaring their candidacy in 80 offices between Clark County and jurisdictions in both Clark and Cowlitz counties. Candidates have until 5 p.m. Monday to withdraw their candidacy in writing to the Clark County Elections Department, and will not receive a refund on their filing fee. For jurisdictions where no one filed, the county will hold a special three-day filing period June 15, 16 and 17.

Clark County

o Council, District No. 2: Julie Olson (Republican), Tanner Martin (No party preference), Chuck Green (Democrat), Mary Benton (Republican), Mike Pond, (Democrat).

o Council, chair (at-large): Tom Mielke (Republican), David -Madore (Republican), Marc Boldt (no party preference), Jeanne Stewart (Republican), Mike Dalesandro (Democrat).

Clark Superior Court

o Judge, Position 3: Derek J. Vanderwood.

o Judge, Position 6: John P. Fairgrieve.

City of Battle Ground

o Council, Position No. 2: Shane A. Bowman.

o Council, Position No. 3: Steven Douglas Phelps.

o Council, Position No. 7: Philip Johnson, Candy Bonneville.

City of Camas

o Mayor: Scott Higgins.

o Council, Ward 1, Position No. 1: Timothy J. Hazen, Shawn High.

o Council, Ward 2, Position No. 1: Bonnie Carter

o Council, Ward 3, Position No. 1: Greg K. Anderson.

o Council, at-large position: Don Chaney.

City of La Center

o Mayor: Al Luiz, Greg Thornton.

o Council, Position No. 1: Heather Birdwell-Currey.

o Council, Position No. 4: Joe Valenzuela.

o Council, Position No. 5: Elizabeth M. Cerveny.

City of Ridgefield

o Council, Position No. 2: David T-aylor, Maria Salazar, Michael Harris.

o Council, Position No. 3: Lee E. Wells.

o Council, Position No. 5: Darren S. Wertz.

o Council, Position No. 7: Sandra Day.

City of Vancouver

o Council, Position No. 4: Bart Hansen, Justin Forsman.

o Council, Position No. 5: Ty Stober, Linda Glover, Kathleen Metzger.

o Council, Position No. 6: George R. Francisco, Bill Turlay.

City of Washougal

o Council, Position No. 2: Michelle C. Wagner.

o Council, Position No. 4: Joyce Lindsay, Jason Dodge.

o Council, Position No. 5: Jennifer McDaniel.

o Council, Position No. 7: Dan Coursey, Molly L. Coston.

City of Woodland

o Mayor: Will Finn.

o Council, Position No. 4: Karl A. Chapman, Grover B. Laseke.

o Council, Position No. 5: JJ Burke, Susan Humbyrd.

o Council, Position No. 7: Mike Benjamin, Matthew Jacobs.

Town of Yacolt

o Mayor: Jeff Carothers.

o Council, Position No. 3: Anthony Bronkhorst.

Cemetery District No. 1

o Commissioner, Position No. 1: John J. Straub.

Cemetery District No. 4

o Commissioner, Position No. 1: Ruth MJ Ham.

Cemetery District No. 5

o Commissioner, Position No. 3: Dick Colf.

Cemetery District No. 6

o Commissioner, Position No. 3: Stephen E. Root, James W. Landon.

Clark Regional Wastewater District

o Commissioner, Position No. 2: Norman Harker.

Clark County Fire and Rescue

o Commissioner, Position No. 2: James R. (Bob) Johnson.

East County Fire and Rescue

o Commissioner, Position No. 1: Thomas A. Gianatasio.

o Commissioner, Position No. 2: Michael Taggart.

oCommissioner, Position No. 3: Mike Berg.

o Commissioner, Position No. 5: Sherry M. Petty

Fire Protection District No. 3

o Commissioner, Position No. 5: Buck Heidrick.

Fire Protection District No. 5

o Commissioner, Position No. 3: Ron Gibson.

Fire Protection District No. 6

o Commissioner, Position No. 3: Casey M. Collins.

Fire Protection District No. 10

o Commissioner, Position No. 2: -Elizabeth “Beth” Goble.

Battle Ground School District No. 119

o School director, District No. 2: Ken Root.

o School director, District No. 4: Mavis Nickels, Dick Rylander, Ben Kapelka.

Camas School District No. 117

o School director, District No. 3: Connie Hennessey.

o School director, District No. 4: Doug Quinn.

o School director, District No. 5: Mary Tipton.

Evergreen School District No. 114

o School director, District No. 2: Rob Perkins.

o School director, District No. 3: Victoria Bradford, Frank Decker.

o School director, District No. 4: Todd Yuzuriha.

Hockinson School District No. 98

o School director, Position No. 3: Dave Olson.

o School director, Position No. 4: Greg Gospe.

o School director, Position No. 5: Katherine Davis.

La Center School District No. 101

o School director, Position No. 1: Cris Yaw.

o School director, Position No. 4: Wendy Chord.

o School director, Position No. 5: Eric Lindberg.

Mt. Pleasant School District No. 029-93

o Director 2: Adele Olson.

o Director 3: Karl Kanthak.

o Director 4: Tanis Morris.

Ridgefield School District No. 122

o School director, District No. 2: Joseph Vance.

o School director, District No. 3: Steve Radosevich.

o School director, District No. 5: Scott Gullickson.

Vancouver School District No. 37

o School director, Position No. 1: Dale Q. Rice, Heather Lindberg.

o School director, Position No. 4: Michelle Giovannozzi.

o School director, Position No. 5: Nada Wheelock, Rosemary Fryer.

Washougal School District No. 112-6

o School director, District No. 1: Teresa Lees

o School director, District No. 2: Elaine Pfeifer, Jason Ferrier.

o School director, District No. 4: Karen Rubino.

Woodland School District No. 404-102

o School director, District No. 1: Sarah Stuart

o School director, District No. 2: Janice Watts

o School director, District No. 3: Lesa Beuscher

Port of Camas-Washougal

o Commissioner, District No. 2: Bill Ward.

Port of Ridgefield

o Commissioner, District No. 3: Joe Melroy.

Port of Vancouver

o Commissioner, District No. 2: Nick Ande, Bill Hughes, Eric LaBrant, Scott Dalesandro, Peter Harrison, Robert Durgan, Lisa Ross.

Woodland Pool and Recreation

o Commissioner, Position No. 3: Michael Green.

Filing week came to a dramatic close Friday as several last-minute candidates entered the 2015 elections.

The Clark County council chair race will see yet another familiar face, as current Councilor Jeanne Stewart announced her candidacy. Mike Dalesandro, a Battle Ground city councilor who’s new to county-level politics, also announced his candidacy.

Mary Benton, the wife of Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, filed for the District 2 race.

Two newcomers also announced for seats on the Vancouver City Council. Justin Forsman will run against incumbent Bart Hansen for Position No. 4. Kathleen Metzger announced her candidacy for Position No. 5, which will be vacated by Councilor Larry Smith.

Jeanne Stewart, Clark County council, chair

Councilor Jeanne Stewart’s campaign strategy — much like her voting record — will likely be a little different from her fellows.

Stewart, a Republican, filed for Clark County council chair Friday morning. Her entry into the race means the entire sitting council will compete for the position. Councilors David Madore and Tom Mielke, both Republicans, are also running.

Though rumors have been flying for weeks and many have encouraged her to file, Stewart made no public indication that she was interested in the seat. However, Stewart said she’s been considering making a bid since February.

Stewart says she plans to run a clean — and cheap — campaign. She said she plans to raise and spend no more than $5,000.

“I want to make a contrast here,” Stewart said. “I don’t want the campaign to be about political fundraising, or massing endorsements.”

“If it’s won solely on big money, we’re in bigger trouble than we think,” she said.

Madore, CEO of US Digital, raised $331,897.08 in his 2012 campaign, $314,267.41 of which was his own money. Mielke, meanwhile, raised $24,878.72, while his Democratic opponent Joe Tanner raised $240,127.82.

Stewart, who before her time on the county council served for 12 years as a Vancouver city councilor, said she wants to work to develop relationships with other government agencies, boards, commissions and city councils.

Currently, that “perspective … about how we work together in the community” is lacking on the county council, she said.

“This community, it’s a whole community,” Stewart said.

Though her time on the council has been short–Stewart was sworn in to take over Commissioner Steve Stuart’s seat in November — she said she’s been proud of her decisions and of her thoughtful approach to decision making.

“I carefully think through votes that I make, especially in difficult circumstances,” she said. “There is not a single vote that I’ve made that I would take back.”

Along with the two sitting councilors, neither of whom returned a request for comment, Stewart will face off in the race against former County Commissioner Marc Boldt, an independent, and Dalesandro, a Democrat.

Mike Dalesandro, Clark County council, chair

Dalesandro, 34, is the lone Democrat in the race for Clark County council chair.

The Battle Ground City councilor said in a press release that he plans to bring a “spirit of collaboration” to the Clark County council. He was elected to the city council in 2013, and said prior to his election that he was active in nonprofit organizations.

“It’s time to change the politics in Clark County,” he said in the press release. “I fully support the charter and the new form of government. We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity from all corners of Clark County to share this new course, together; that’s why I’ve decided to seek the Council Chair position.”

Dalesandro, who works as a supply chain analyst at Boise Paper in Vancouver, said it’s time for a fresh face on the council.

“Unfortunately, we’ve seen petty politics and lawsuits and accusations of cronyism. I’m concerned and frustrated,” he said. “Really, what it comes down to is, I think it’s time for a new voice of leadership in Clark County.”

Dalesandro will likely be in for an uphill battle for the council seat. Voter data show that the county tends to lean conservative despite the liberal population hubs in Vancouver.

However, county voters approving the home-rule charter in November showed that constituents are ready for a change, he said.

“Clark County voters are smart,” he said. “We have a lot of independent voters.”

Dalesandro will remain on the Battle Ground City Council through the race and if he loses, but will have to give up the seat if he wins.

Mary Benton, Clark County council, District 2

Mary Benton, the wife of controversial Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, filed for the open county council District 2 seat late Friday afternoon. She filed as a Republican.

Mary Benton is a relative newcomer to politics. She is the Republican precinct committee officer for Precinct 550 north of Vancouver.

As of 2013, she was listed as the vice president and chairwoman of National Consulting Services, a company founded by her husband. The organization also operates as National Advertising Consultants and The Benton Group.

Bill Barron, who was the county administrator in 2013, told The Columbian that Mary Benton manages and operates the company’s online products. The phone number Mary Benton provided on her filing paperwork directs to a voice mail for The Benton Group.

Don Benton’s own entry into Clark County government was — and continues to be — met with criticism. Madore and Mielke appointed Don Benton to lead the Environmental Services Department in May 2013, bypassing the county’s hiring practices.

It is unclear whether Mary Benton’s political leanings will fall in line with her husband’s, though she gave him glowing praise during his 2012 senate campaign in a letter paid for by the Friends for Don Benton.

“As a wife and mother, it has not been easy to explain to our boys how some political campaigns can be untruthful and mislead voters (and it’s only going to get worse),” she wrote of attack ads targeting her husband.

Mary Benton did not return a call or email for comment Friday.

Benton will run for the seat against Julie Olson, Republican, Tanner Martin, an independent, Chuck Green, a Democrat, and Mike Pond, a Democrat.

Justin Forsman, Vancouver City Council, Position 4

Political newcomer Forsman, 27, filed for Vancouver City Council with just 10 minutes to spare.

Forsman, who said he has lived in Vancouver since he was 12, listed natural medicine, essential oils, clean water and the United States Constitution among the things he holds dear.

Forsman is also working with a friend to launch Broken Pole Fishing Hole, a program targeted at helping wounded vets. Launched by a man named James Bond, the program will provide a place for wounded and struggling veterans to fish.

Forsman plans to advocate for “groups that have been left behind,” he said.

“I’m representing and fighting for the common, everyday citizen,” he said.

Forsman will run against incumbent Bart Hansen.

Kathleen Metzger, Vancouver City Council, Position 5

Metzger filed for candidacy at almost exactly the last minute. She turned in her paperwork to the Clark County Elections Department at 4:58 p.m. Friday, and only decided Thursday to run for the seat.

Metzger, a former Republican precinct committee officer for Precinct 150 and legislative district chair for the 49th District, said she’s still working on establishing her campaign platform. However, she said that during her time campaigning for other candidates, she recognized a need for a greater connection between voters and their local politicians.

“I’m really looking forward to running a good campaign and bringing issues to light that probably aren’t being talked about a lot,” she said.

Metzger will face off with Ty Stober and Linda Glover for the seat.

Grover Laseke, Woodland City Council, Position 4

Woodland Mayor Grover Laseke is taking a step back this year, retiring from his mayoral duties and instead running for city council.

“I’ve decided I’m going to retire at the end of the year, and I don’t have the time to spend being mayor,” Laseke said. “I’m just not interested in continuing on with that, but there are still several projects I’d like to see through and I could do that as a city councilmember.”

Laseke didn’t intend to run for mayor again. Retirement has been on his mind for the past six months or so.

Once he’s left the mayor’s office, Laseke said, he’ll probably do more traveling while continuing to help the city and community organizations in less time-consuming roles.

After more than 40 years working full time in the public sector, Laseke said he’s ready to begin moving on. He’ll be 62 by the end of the year, and he’s not sure whether he’d run for another term on the council should he win the election.

Laseke will run for the Position No. 4 seat against Karl Chapman.

Columbian reporter Justin Runquist contributed to this report.