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News / Clark County News

Vancouver council races draw second challenger

Russian immigrant 'believes passionately in the American dream'

By Stephanie Rice
Published: March 26, 2013, 5:00pm

A second challenger has announced plans to run for Vancouver City Council.

Galina Burley, 36, who describes herself as a Russian immigrant who “believes passionately in the American dream,” said Tuesday she’ll run for the council.

Her family emigrated from Russia in 1991 with $50 in their pocket, said Burley, who has a master’s degree in public administration and works as a human services manager for Clackamas County, Ore.

“I’m proof that the American dream is still possible,” she said. “This community has given so much to me and my family. I’m committed to public service and that is a reflection of my desire to give back in return.”

She said she supports the Columbia River Crossing, which has been a dominating issue in local political campaigns the past few years, and said she wants to support local businesses to foster job growth.

Her history of civic involvement includes serving on the board of directors for YWCA Clark County, serving on an advisory board for the Vancouver Police Department and organizing the Russian-Speaking Youth Leadership Conference.

Prior to her job with Clackamas County, she managed the bureau of community outreach for the city of Norfolk, Va. Before moving to Virginia, however, she spent three years working as a crime-prevention administrator for the city of Portland and five years as a special events and diversity programming coordinator for the city of Vancouver.

Three city councilors — Jack Burkman, 58, Jeanne Harris, 56, and Jeanne Stewart — are up for re-election this year along with Mayor Tim Leavitt, who announced Feb. 14 he plans to seek a second term.

City councilors currently earn $1,781 a month and receive health benefits.

Candidate filing week is May 13-17, and Burley said Tuesday she’ll file to run against Harris unless Stewart decides to run against Leavitt. In that case, she’ll file for Stewart’s seat.

Stewart, 66, said Tuesday she hasn’t decided whether she’ll challenge Leavitt, 42.

She knows other potential candidates are waiting for her to decide, but said she still needs to do a careful assessment of how she can best make a contribution to the community.

Earlier this month, Anne McEnerny-Ogle, 59, whose civic titles include chairwoman of the Vancouver Neighborhood Alliance and president of the League of Women Voters of Clark County, said she will run against Harris.

If more than two people file for a seat, candidates will face off in an Aug. 6 primary and the top two finishers will advance to the Nov. 5 general election.

Burley lives in the Forest Ridge neighborhood with her husband and three daughters.

Her campaign kickoff event will be 5:30 to 7 p.m. April 24 at Main Event Sports Grill, 3200 S.E. 164th Ave. Suite 204.

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