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News / Clark County News

Moeller says he’s been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease

Former state representative says he will continue run for county council

By Jake Thomas, Columbian political reporter
Published: May 9, 2018, 11:26am

Jim Moeller said that he has Parkinson’s disease but isn’t dropping his bid for Clark County Council.

Moeller, 62, said that he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s about a month ago. According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, the malady is a neurodegenerative disease. While the disease is nonfatal and can be treated, there is no cure for it, according to the foundation. Its website states that the disease’s symptoms develop gradually over time and may include tremors, limb rigidity, slowness of movement, cognitive impairment as well as gait and balance problems.

“It will not get in the way, because my brain is fine,” said Moeller, a seven-term former Democratic state representative, who is confident his diagnosis will not impair his ability to campaign or serve on the council. He said he underwent an MRI that found no problems with his brain. “I’m going to keep going until I die, because there is nothing wrong with my brain.”

Moeller said he first noticed signs of the disease when he had problems with his voice and gait. He also noticed that his writing had become smaller because of cramped muscles.

Moeller said that he doesn’t have shakes, one of the more noticeable symptoms of Parkinson’s. He said that his only concern is that his mouth and his mind are not quite in sync, which he said causes speech problems.

He said he is managing the disease so far by exercising at a gym twice a week, receiving weekly acupuncture treatments and attending a class on Parkinson’s.

“People have tried to talk me out of (running),” said Moeller. When asked if his disease would progress to a point where he would drop out, Moeller said, “probably if I die.”

Moeller has been a familiar face in Clark County politics. A now-retired chemical dependency counselor, he was first elected to Vancouver City Council in 1995. He stepped down in 2002 after being elected state representative and positioned himself in his party’s liberal wing. In 2016, he unsuccessfully ran against U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground.

So far, Moeller is the only candidate to have filed for the District 1 position on the county council. The position represents an urban area of Clark County and is currently held by Republican Jeanne Stewart, who has not announced if she’s running.

Next week is the official period for candidates to file to run for office.

Columbian political reporter