Democrat Roman Battan is facing an uphill battle in his contest for Clark County councilor from District 4, but he has earned the recommendation of The Columbian’s Editorial Board.
As always, this is merely a recommendation designed to enhance the discussion. The Columbian trusts the desire and ability of voters to study the issues and the candidates before casting an informed ballot.
Battan, a small-business owner, has earned our recommendation by focusing upon the day-to-day functions of government that enhance the lives of residents, noting that, “I believe in the idea of good governance.” His attention to seemingly mundane but important tasks such as building and maintaining roads or developing stormwater programs reflects the difference between governance and ideology. “I would like to see a more human element,” he says of county government. “This whole charter was put into place so we can be close to the community.”
In addition to a collaborative nature, Battan articulates his vision for the county in a clear, concise manner while emphasizing that he would be accessible to constituents.
Meanwhile, his opponent, Republican Eileen Quiring, represents views more in line with outgoing Councilor Tom Mielke, who opted to not seek re-election. Quiring led the three-person primary election with 39 percent of the vote to 35 percent for Battan, despite the presence of another Republican in the race.
Quiring is a Realtor, a former Oregon legislator (as Eileen Qutub), and a current member of the Clark County Planning Commission. On that commission, she voted to support Councilor David Madore’s Alternative 4 to the county’s growth-management plan, which would have allowed for smaller lots in rural areas. She also says, “Rural communities have been left behind due to restrictive land-use policies which harm their families.” Regarding the political philosophy of Madore, who failed to advance out of the primary in a quest for re-election in District 3, Quiring says, “For the most part, we agree.”
Quiring also writes: “I will work to implement meaningful changes so that we no longer have to turn away new businesses who want to locate here” — a specious argument because there is no evidence that businesses are being turned away.
In our mind, Quiring is too closely aligned with the divisive politics that have hampered Clark County in recent years. In addition to her support for Madore, she has been endorsed by the Clark County Republican Party, an organization that has opposed some Republicans it deems not conservative enough. In a mailer paid for by the group during the primary campaign, Quiring was referred to as “a conservative we can trust.”
That likely will resonate with many voters, but Battan’s approach would be more beneficial for the county. He rightly stresses the need for infrastructure as an economic investment, and supports a replacement for the Interstate 5 Bridge so long as the proposal also addresses the I-5 corridor throughout the metro area. He also notes the need for councilors to work effectively with county staff and the county manager — something that Madore and Mielke were reluctant to do.
With the full implementation of the 2014 county charter, and with changes coming to the county council, a new day is dawning for Clark County government. Roman Battan would be the best councilor from District 4 to help usher in that new era.