The summer weather and the vacation schedule and the fact that the calendar says "July" don't exactly suggest that the campaign season has arrived, and yet the reality begs to differ. The 2014 election season has, indeed, come to Clark County, with ballots for the primary being sent out today from the elections office.
It would be difficult to argue that residents of Washington's 18th Legislative District didn't get their money's worth during Brandon Vick's first term in Olympia. Vick sits on six legislative committees, including some key groups that deal with the state's financing, and he rightly boasts that he did not miss any votes during the 2013 and 2014 sessions.
While Clark County voters will be electing a new sheriff for the first time in decades, The Columbian Editorial Board is confident the Sheriff's Office will remain in good hands. With Garry Lucas retiring after 24 years on the job, four candidates with vast law enforcement experience are seeking the position.
The three-person primary race for the representative from Washington's 3rd Congressional District presents a sharp contrast in philosophies that gives voters a variety of choices. The Columbian recommends that Republican Jaime Herrera Beutler and Democrat Bob Dingethal advance to the general election.
Cheers: To the first signs of major construction along Highway 502 from Battle Ground to Duluth, near the new interchange at Interstate 5. With nearly 19,000 residents and growing, Battle Ground has long deserved better highway access than a former two-lane farm road with no shoulders and a lot of driveways. The new highway will offer four lanes, plus shoulders.
As a longtime businessman, community leader, school board member, and now state representative, Paul Harris has served the 17th Legislative District well for many years. The Republican, who is seeking a third term in the Legislature, has earned strong consideration for advancing through the primary to the general election in the race for the district's Position 2 representative.
Sharon Wylie over the years has served as a lobbyist, as a government relations officer for Clark County, as an Oregon state representative, and now as representative from Washington's 49th legislative district. Some people who long for a shake-up in government might view that résumé as a negative, but that experience sets Wylie apart from her challengers in this summer's primary.
Ideally, elections present voters with diverse choices representing a broad spectrum of interests and opinions. With that in mind, The Columbian endorses Democrat Jim Moeller and Republican Carolyn Crain in the primary race for state representative from the 49th District, Position 2.
Clark Public Utilities has attained a performance level that all public agencies and governments should aspire to match, yet there always is room for improvement. Because of that, The Columbian's Editorial Board endorses incumbent Byron Hanke and challenger Jane Van Dyke in the primary race for Clark Public Utilities commissioner from District No. 3.
In the modern political landscape, a particular ethos has developed that a do-nothing government is better than one that works to solve problems. There is some logic behind this, given the well-documented foibles of lawmakers at all levels, yet this line of thinking also can have negative consequences.
It is time for Clark County to move forward, to modernize, to embrace a system that will lurch the region toward the future. It is time for the C-Tran board of directors to approve Bus Rapid Transit for the Fourth Plain corridor. Sure, there are shortcomings with the system. But the benefits and the costs — with most of the financing coming from a federal grant — add up to an advancement in the region's ability to serve the public, and officials should lend their approval when they hold a public meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Vancouver Community Library.
Cheers: There was unfettered good news Thursday as Dustin Goudschaal, a Vancouver Police Department officer who was shot seven times Monday, was released from the hospital and sent home to continue his recovery. Goudschaal's survival is a testament to his ballistic vest and the safety measures officers take, but it also to a couple of fast-thinking good Samaritans.
It might mean barbecues. It might mean parades. It might mean baseball or potato salad or family reunions. And, in Clark County, it almost certainly means personal fireworks and/or complaints about them. The Fourth of July can mean different things — or at least different manners of festivities — to different people as Americans celebrate the founding of the United States.
The primary election is Aug. 5, the general election is Nov. 4, and the Legislature convenes in January. But the state's political players are in midseason form, complete with wrangling over budgets, concern over revenue forecasts, and accusations of grandstanding.