In a short time, Erik Paulsen has established himself as a thoughtful and effective member of the Vancouver City Council. The Columbian’s Editorial Board recommends him for election to Position 2 on the council.
It is rare for the editorial board to recommend only one candidate prior to the primary election. Then again, it is rare for voters to face such a clear choice in a three-person contest. Neither of Paulsen’s opponents appear to be viable candidates for elected office.
As always, this is merely a recommendation; The Columbian encourages voters to study the candidates and the issues before casting an informed ballot.
Paulsen was appointed to the council in January following the resignation of Alishia Topper, who was elected Clark County treasurer. Sitting councilors unanimously selected him on the first ballot to fill the open seat. “I sit before you at the culmination of many years of deliberative process whether or not it would be appropriate for me to serve on city council,” Paulsen told the councilors during the selection process. “Four years ago was the first time I started thinking about it. This is not an obligation I have taken lightly.”
Previously, Paulsen served as chair of the Vancouver Planning Commission; as a board member of the Southwest Clean Air Agency; a member of the city’s Affordable Housing Task Force; and with various charitable and environmental organizations. He spent years serving the community in positions that helped him understand the issues facing residents and city government.
Therefore, it has been no surprise that Paulsen has been a worthy addition during his first six months on the council. Paulsen describes himself as “unusually open minded” and says he likes to ask “show your work” questions.
As he explains in the voters’ pamphlet: “Vancouver is changing rapidly — continued population growth, increasingly diverse demographics, urbanization and revitalization, parking and traffic challenges, and new housing and employment across the whole city. These changes bring a need for visionary leaders who understand issues, seek diverse views, and act decisively to help shape our future.”
That understanding of the issues, developed through community service, is what sets Paulsen apart from his opponents.
Maureen McGoldrick sought city council seats in 2017 and 2018, and both times she ran a stealth campaign. Her reluctance to make public appearances and her refusal to speak with the media indicate that she will not govern with the transparency necessary for an effective city councilor. In the voters’ pamphlet, she lists community service in Portland and in California, but precious little in the city she now wants to help govern.
Justin Forsman has campaigned for several city and county offices in recent years, but also has not demonstrated the qualities of an effective councilor. In previous interviews with the editorial board, he has expressed concern about “chemtrails” and the United Nations’ Agenda 21, but little knowledge of the issues facing the city of Vancouver.
It would be disconcerting if The Columbian’s Editorial Board recommended Paulsen only because his opponents are unqualified. Fortunately for voters, that is not the case. He is a candidate who has built an impressive resume of public service and who has demonstrated a long commitment to the community.
The Columbian recommends Erik Paulsen as the clear choice for Vancouver City Council, Position 2.