In Our View: Clear Choice for Mayor

McEnerny-Ogle’s long record of service to Vancouver a testament to leadership

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Even before her opponent withdrew from the race, Anne McEnerny-Ogle was a clear choice in the race for mayor of Vancouver. The Columbian’s Editorial Board recommends a vote for McEnerny-Ogle to continue the strong trajectory city government has demonstrated in recent years.

As always, this is merely a recommendation. The Columbian trusts that voters will examine the issues and make an informed decision when they mark their ballots in this unconventional contest.

In the race for mayor, voters will find McEnerny-Ogle and Steven Cox on the ballot. In the August primary, McEnerny-Ogle received 63 percent of the vote and Cox had 21 percent in a five-person contest.

McEnerny-Ogle’s status as the prohibitive favorite was bolstered last month when Cox dropped out of the race. Cox had accused a city councilor of violating his First Amendment rights, and then wrote a letter saying, “I falsely accused an innocent man of wrongdoing. … The shame is mine and not his.” Cox, a 36-year military veteran, said those who are veterans with mild traumatic brain injuries or post-traumatic stress disorder will understand, adding, “This is my third attempt at leading a normal, healthy and productive life, and I have failed again, embarrassing friends and family, those people I love and harming those who are innocent.”

We applaud Cox for the courage he demonstrated in running for mayor and ultimately withdrawing from the race. We also thank him for his service to his country and hope that he can, indeed, live a normal and productive life.

Meanwhile, the fact the race for mayor has taken an unexpected turn should not obfuscate McEnerny-Ogle’s strong credentials for the position. She has served on the city council since 2014 and, as mayor pro tem, has performed the duties of mayor on a fill-in basis.

That is the culmination of a lengthy history of service. Over the years, McEnerny-Ogle has served on the city’s planning commission, has been president of the Clark County Historical Society, has been on the advisory panel of Daybreak Youth Services, has chaired the Vancouver Neighborhood Alliance, has volunteered with Neighbors On Watch, and has been involved with other community endeavors.

While there is a strong movement throughout the country to elect political outsiders, the fact is those who are deeply involved in community service and local politics develop an understanding of their constituents and the needs of their communities. McEnerny-Ogle reflects that ethos.

Vancouver in recent years has enjoyed a robust economy and a period of strong growth; the city, in essence, is becoming sophisticated. Yet problems and potential problems linger beneath the surface, and this will require strong leadership. Homelessness has increased, leading to questions about services for vulnerable citizens and balancing those with the needs of residents and business owners.

How the city uses a property-tax levy that was approved by voters to bolster affordable housing will be important to the region’s future. So, too, will efforts to attract family-wage jobs and to effectively manage growth. And then there is the persistent issue of potholes and the degradation of streets throughout Vancouver.

McEnerny-Ogle’s history of involvement in community projects demonstrates that she is the ideal candidate to deal with these issues and with unanticipated ones. The Columbian recommends a vote for Anne McEnerny-Ogle as mayor of Vancouver.