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Friday, September 22, 2023
Sept. 22, 2023

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Assessor hopeful was ‘sideways’ with ADHD

Van Nortwick says it won't hinder his ability to run office


A candidate for Clark County assessor disclosed in court documents seven years ago that he had a “significant” mental disability that made it difficult for him to build relationships with people and find employment.

Republican Peter Van Nortwick, 43, said Friday that he has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. He said he has learned to manage it without medication and to use it to his benefit.

The self-employed general appraiser said the condition would not negatively affect his ability to run an office.

The assessor supervises a total of 67 employees in the assessor’s office and the Geographic Information Systems department.

The job currently pays $92,364 a year.

Other candidates are Republicans David Horowitz and Daniel Weaver, and Democrat Janet Seekins.

The top two finishers in Tuesday’s primary advance to the Nov. 2 general election.

Van Nortwick said Friday the diagnosis was made when he was going through a divorce.

“The divorce really sent me sideways,” Van Nortwick said. “It was a rough situation. It came out that I had ADHD, and knowing that I had it was probably the best thing. … I basically overcame that.”

He and his first wife filed for divorce in 2001.

In 2003, he filed a petition to modify his child support payments because he was unemployed.

Van Nortwick said Friday that at the time, he had quit his job in international business, was seeing a therapist and received help through the Department of Social and Health Services’ Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.

“I am certified by the department with a significant disability,” he wrote in 2003. “My disability is mental. … Due to my disability, I have a difficult time building relationships, and the department in conjunction with my doctors determined that it was significantly impacting my ability to find employment.”

Through the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, which helps people with disabilities find work, he was trained to be an appraiser.

“Now I realize that my best option is to build a new career,” he wrote in 2003.

Van Nortwick, who has remarried, said Friday that the divorce taught him how to stand up for himself. That’s one reason he’s able to run for public office, he said.

He said the condition allows him to “hyper focus” on work and to get by on only four hours of sleep a night.

But he has learned that not everyone can keep up that pace.

Before, “I just didn’t understand how people couldn’t work for 16 hours a day,” he said.

Stephanie Rice: 360-735-4508 or stephanie.rice@columbian.com.