Thursday, September 24, 2020
Sept. 24, 2020

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Seven eye 49th District vacancy

3 names will be sent to commissioners to finish Jacks' term

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A former Oregon legislator, an aide to Sen. Craig Pridemore, a professional mediator, a political consultant and a retired Social Security administrator are among those strongly considering running for appointment to the 49th Legislative District vacancy created by the resignation last week of state Rep. Jim Jacks, a Democrat.

o Nicholas Ferderer

o Peter Khalil

o Temple Lentz

o Monica Stonier

o Mike Teefy

o Sharon Wylie

o Jeremy Zegas

Precinct committee officers from the 49th will choose three finalists for the opening at their regular meeting at 8 p.m. April 11 at the Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union Hall, 1205 Ingalls St. From that field of candidates, Clark County commissioners will make the appointment to fill out the first year of Jacks’ term. The appointee will have to run in the November general election to keep the seat.

Mike Heywood, chairman of the 49th Legislative District Democratic Central Committee, said each candidate would be given five minutes to deliver a campaign speech at the April 11 session. The 25 precinct committee officers representing the 49th District will choose the finalists, using multiple ballots if necessary.

Candidates are not required to announce their intentions in advance.

“The effective deadline is after the caucus is called to order at 8 p.m.,” Heywood said. But realistically, he added, applicants who hope to be successful “had better be thinking about it now.”

Jacks, a Vancouver Democrat who was elected to his second term in November, announced Friday that he had resigned his seat for personal reasons that he did not want to disclose. His departure comes as the Legislature grapples with a $5.3 billion shortfall over the next 27 months. The 2011 session is scheduled to adjourn April 24.

o Nicholas Ferderer

o Peter Khalil

o Temple Lentz

o Monica Stonier

o Mike Teefy

o Sharon Wylie

o Jeremy Zegas

Names new, familiar

As of Tuesday, these people said they were considering or strongly considering seeking appointment to fill out Jacks’ term through the end of 2011:

• Nicholas Ferderer, 22, a senior and a former student body president at Washington State University Vancouver, who is pursuing a double degree in English and public affairs. Ferderer serves as precinct committee officer and state committeeman for the 49th District. “Representing people has always come naturally to me,” he said. If appointed, he said, he would work to protect higher education funding, among other issues.

• Peter Khalil, 29, a resident of Vancouver since July, who operates a mediation service and serves as president of the Harney Heights Neighborhood Association. Khalil is a graduate of Columbia University and Stanford Law School and a member of the New York Bar, with extensive experience in commercial litigation. He said the opportunity to serve in the Legislature appeals to him because it would allow him to advocate for the transportation infrastructure of Southwest Washington, including the Columbia River Crossing and light rail; top-notch educational programs, especially in math and science; and investments in alternative energy technology.

• Temple Lentz, 35, a political consultant who managed Tim Leavitt’s successful 2009 mayoral campaign. Lentz is active in Leadership Clark County and helped organize a candidate forum for 3rd Congressional District candidates at Clark College last year.

• Monica Stonier, 34, a language arts and social studies teacher at Pacific Middle School, who ran last year for an open seat in the 17th Legislative District, losing to Republican Paul Harris. Stonier said she is “exploring the idea” of seeking the appointment, but has made no decision. She said she is currently living in a rented house in the 49th but still owns a house in the 17th District, which is not yet on the market, and she has not yet registered to vote in the 49th. “Running for office in the 49th is not something I had planned to do,” she said. In last year’s campaign, Stonier advocated educational reform and teacher empowerment.

• Mike Teefy, 64, a retired Social Security Administration administrator who spent 34 years with the federal agency. Long active in Clark County Democratic politics and labor issues, Teefy served as the 49th District legislative chairman from 1996 to 2000 and was a delegate to the 2000 Democratic National Convention. He has been a precinct committee officer in the 49th since 1996. A member of the American Federation of Government Employees since 1973, he has served on the Vancouver Charter Review Commission and on various advisory panels dealing with issues of aging and retirement security. If appointed, he said, he would work to protect Social Security and Medicare benefits. “We need someone who will look out for seniors and the disabled and the working people of Clark County.”

• Sharon Wylie, 61, a former two-term member of the Oregon House of Representatives, where she represented a suburban district east of Portland in the mid-1990s. Until three years ago, Wylie worked in Olympia as a lobbyist representing government clients, including Clark, Kitsap and Jefferson counties and C-Tran. Married to Vancouver City Attorney Ted Gathe, she currently volunteers her time to agencies that provide housing for the homeless and serves as a consultant on consumer protection issues. Regarding the state budget crisis, Wylie said, “What everyone is grappling with now is that the choices the state has are all ugly. People don’t realize how deep the cuts will be. I would spend a lot of time looking, with the community, for ways to mitigate that.”

• Jeremy Zegas, 28, a staff assistant to Pridemore, who has lived in Vancouver since 2008. Zegas previously worked on Pridemore’s congressional campaign, on the county commission campaigns of Steve Stuart and Pam Brokaw, and for Washington Bus, a nonprofit organization that works to get more young people involved in politics. “I’ve been following the budget process closely and I feel confident of my ability to step in,” he said.

Heywood said the process of filling the 49th District vacancy by appointment is fraught with political risks. Among them: The two Republicans on the three-member Board of Clark County Commissioners could choose a candidate perceived as the weakest of the group, and the GOP could then field two strong candidates to run against that candidate in the August top-two primary.

Another complication: State campaign finance laws prohibit legislators from raising campaign money during the Legislative session. That means an appointed incumbent would be at a big disadvantage in raising money and mounting an effective campaign in the November general election, Heywood said.

“Some say, ‘Let’s put a placeholder in,’” he said. That would give the advantage to candidates who don’t want to seek appointment to Jacks’ position but are prepared to run for election to the seat in November — and would face no restrictions on fundraising.

The best course, Heywood said, is to put forth the three strongest candidates the party can field.

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