The race for the Clark County council’s most rural district is heating up, as yet another Republican has announced her candidacy for the seat.
Eileen Quiring, a 68-year-old county planning commissioner, announced Friday her intent to run for the District 4 seat, currently held by Republican Tom Mielke.
The district, which leans conservative, covers Camas, Washougal, Battle Ground, the town of Yacolt and all of rural northeast Clark County. Geographically, it is Clark County’s largest council district.
“I’m ready to lead on day one,” Quiring said in her campaign announcement. “Today I start my journey to get my strong, conservative message out to voters in the 4th District.”
Quiring said she would support policies that create “shovel ready” sites for future employers, such as providing incentives to developers who extend water, sewer and roads to vacant parcels.
“Clark County has untapped economic potential to attract new, advanced manufacturing, and we need a leader who will make that happen,” Quiring said.
Quiring also listed supporting rural property rights among her priorities, a hot-button issue for the Clark County council in recent months. As a planning commissioner, a seat she’s held since 2012, Quiring voted in September to support components of Councilor David Madore’s controversial Alternative 4 and Alternative 2 that would allow for smaller parcel sizes in rural areas.
“Rural communities have been left behind due to restrictive land-use policies which harm their families,” Quiring said in her announcement. “We need a strong leader who will protect our rural character and respect the property rights of our farming and forestry families.”
Quiring, who was born in Clark County, served a term in the Oregon Senate from 1997 to 2001, and as a state representative from 1995 to 1997. She ran and lost against Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver, in the left-leaning 49th District in 2012.
Democrat Roman Battan, a Camas resident, and Republican Jennifer McDaniel, a Washougal city councilor, have also announced their candidacy for the seat. Mielke, who turned 74 on Wednesday, has not made a formal announcement of his plans.
The 2016 Clark County council elections are already spurring community chatter, as both Mielke and Madore, a Republican, are up for re-election in their respective districts. The outcome of both races could lead to a shake-up of personalities and politics on the county council.