The purpose of any job worth doing is not necessarily the winning of awards, but recognition from peers can be a testament to a job well done. Because of that, Kathy Gillespie has earned The Columbian's endorsement for another term on the Board of Directors for Vancouver Public Schools.
It is a question of vision, of foresight, of being able to look into the future and consider Vancouver's place in the world. And it is those traits that lead The Columbian to endorse Tim Leavitt as he seeks a second term as mayor of the city.
How's that old joke go? Something about asking whether ignorance or apathy is the bigger problem, and the answer is, "I don't know and I don't care." Ha! That's always a knee-slapper — at least as far as political humor goes. But there apparently is nothing funny about the expected turnout for today's primary election in Clark County.
Vancouver voters are fortunate to have three solid choices in the Aug. 6 primary for city council Position 2: a 12-year incumbent and two well-prepared and enthusiastic challengers from the Hough neighborhood.
When Jack Burkman says, "I love Vancouver and I am honored to serve on the City Council," the sincerity in his voice is undeniable. And as he devotes countless hours to researching issues, listening to constituents and respectfully deliberating with his council colleagues, Burkman's assets as a public servant are clearly defined.In the Aug. 6 primary race for Vancouver City Council, Position 1, incumbent Burkman clearly is the best choice over three challengers with lackluster records of public service. Ballots will be mailed Wednesday.
For several judicial races, the Aug. 7 primary is not a primary at all but a decisive event. Different rules apply in these races. Those rules are complicated and vary between local and state levels. But basically, any judicial candidate who receives a majority of votes in this primary (ballots were mailed Wednesday) will be declared the winner of the election. With that in mind, here are The Columbian's endorsements for judicial races:Superior Court Judge, Dept. 2: By his conduct in and out of the courtroom, Judge John Wulle's self-inflicted wounds have rendered him unworthy of being returned by voters to the bench he has occupied for 12 years. Challenger David Gregerson offers a composed demeanor and enough experience as a judge pro tempore to earn The Columbian's endorsement.
Jaime Herrera Beutler continues to strengthen her political bona fides as she nears the end of her first term in Congress. An independent streak that enables her to occasionally step beyond the Republican Party consensus has been refreshing in the bitterly partisan Congressional arena. Her laser focus on "what's best for the people of the district" reminds her constituents in the 3rd Congressional District that they are her boss.The Camas Republican is The Columbian's lone endorsement in the Aug. 7 primary because of her strengths, plus her two opponents' weaknesses. Neither Jon Haugen, a Vancouver Democrat, nor Norma Jean Stevens, an Ocean Park libertarian, is gaining any meaningful traction in this campaign.
Replacing Brian Sonntag will be a difficult task for the next state auditor. The retiring Sonntag leaves a legacy of independent accomplishments that is admired by conservatives and liberals alike. During 20 years as state auditor, he consistently championed open government and performance audits to the extent that, last Sept. 29, we editorialized: "Washington taxpayers have no greater friend than Brian Sonntag."Fortunately for voters in the Aug. 7 primary, replacing Sonntag is facilitated by the emergence of two impressive candidates. One — outgoing state Sen. Craig Pridemore, D-Vancouver — has broad legislative experience and keen insight into government's auditing responsibilities. The other — Kirkland businessman James Watkins — has an extensive private-sector auditing background.
Joe Tanner and Ron Barca know a lot about Clark County. Tanner served in the Legislature during the 1980s and was the first director of the Columbia River Economic Development Council. Barca has served 13 years on the Clark County Planning Commission and understands key issues such as growth management and agriculture.They're both driven to public service for the best reason: to make a great community even better.
Solid experience in state and local government strengthens the candidacy of incumbent Clark County Commissioner Marc Boldt. Fresh ideas and thorough preparation enhance the qualifications of newcomer Roman Battan.Those qualities lead The Columbian to endorse Republican Boldt and Democrat Battan in the Aug. 7 primary. Ballots will be mailed Wednesday. After the primary advances the top two vote-getters from this four-man race, we'll announce a single endorsement for the Nov. 6 general election. But already we're impressed with Boldt's little bit of the old and Battan's little bit of the new.
For more than a decade, residents of the 18th Legislative District have been served by Republican state Rep. Ed Orcutt. That seat in the Legislature is now open, although Orcutt has not decided to leave the Legislature or move from Kalama. Essentially, the 18th is leaving Orcutt.The decennial redistricting process redirected Orcutt into the 20th District, where he's running for re-election, and reduced the 18th District to the confines of Clark County, including most of north county, plus Felida, Camas and Washougal. With Orcutt's shift northward comes two strong candidates, each making a first run for the Legislature and both listing a wealth of community service as preparation for the job.
Although politicians of all partisan stripes chant "jobs, jobs, jobs" as the three most important issues of 2012, it is difficult to overlook education as a key issue in one particular local race for a state representative's post.