The Columbian’s Editorial Board is confident that either candidate in the race for Clark County councilor from District 3 would result in improved governance for residents, but we recommend a vote for Republican John Blom.
Blom, a Realtor and member of the Clark County Planning Commission, possesses a strong vision for leading the county into the future and addressing the myriad issues on the horizon. In this regard, he has a slight edge over Democrat Tanisha Harris, who also has the experience and demeanor necessary to be an effective councilor for the benefit of the community.
As always, this is merely a recommendation. The Columbian has faith in the ability and desire of voters to examine the issues and candidates before making an informed decision. In either case, we believe, voters will see the dawning of a brighter day for the county, as Blom and Harris advanced to the general election by defeating incumbent David Madore and his politics of divisiveness in the primary.
Blom ranks public safety and a fully funded sheriff’s office as a top priority for the county, and says that widening state Highway 14 between Interstate 205 and 164th Avenue should be a focus of transportation planning. He also adds that economic development should be the engine that drives infrastructure decisions.
Yet it is his experience and expertise in dealing with issues of growth that will be particularly important on a reconstructed council. Blom notes the need to “encourage responsible development that adds to the supply of both rental and owned housing,” and says, “some ways to do this would be to mindfully expand the urban growth areas to areas where urban services can affordably be provided.”
In an interview with the Editorial Board, Blom demonstrated an ability to grasp nuances — something that has been lacking on the county council — when he criticized the county’s fee-waiver program for developers while noting that the city of Vancouver has adopted a more thoughtful and constructive waiver program.
Philosophically, the differences between Blom and Harris can be found in their areas of emphasis. As a longtime social worker, Harris’ expertise leads her to say, “I will work to promote, expand and improve access to health care, mental health, alcohol and drug treatment, housing assistance, veterans’ services and social services to women, children, families and our most vulnerable citizens.”
Both Blom and Harris have experience that will be helpful in making Clark County work for all citizens, and they possess the personality and demeanor to make progress toward their agendas. They agree upon the need for county leadership to repair relationships with city governments and civic leaders in the area, with Blom saying, “We need someone who can bring a more collaborative vision.”
But as the county deals with inevitable growth and the implementation of a new growth-management plan, Blom’s expertise is particularly timely. Meanwhile, it should be noted that the Clark County Republican Party has not only decided to not endorse Blom, despite the “R” next to his name, it has opted to actively oppose his candidacy. Given the current ideological rigidity of party leadership in the county, this can be seen as a tally mark in Blom’s favor.
Blom and Harris both provide strong visions for the future of Clark County, but Blom’s vision better reflects what is needed at this time. The Columbian recommends a vote for John Blom as county councilor from the District 3.