Adam Aguilera, a teacher at Heritage High School and board member for the largest local teachers union, announced his candidacy for Vancouver City Council on Wednesday evening.
He declared his intention to run for Position 6, the seat currently held by Bill Turlay, during a Vancouver Neighborhood Alliance meeting at Fisher’s Landing Fire Station 9.
“I’ve been a resident of Vancouver city for 15 years now,” Aguilera told the gathered crowd. “This is a city that has grown so much in terms of bringing people together and creating innovative ways on how we can improve our lives and raise families.”
The former secretary/treasurer for the Evergreen Education Association, Aguilera was on the forefront of last fall’s strikes that resulted in eight postponed school days and double-digit salary increases for most teachers. He also runs a cultural responsiveness training for teachers, aimed at creating a more welcoming classroom environment for diverse students.
Additionally, Aguilera was a director of Community Roots Collaborative, a group that develops permanent tiny homes in Clark County as affordable housing, until he resigned in January citing a scheduling conflict.
“Now, we’re at a transition point. We are growing to a place that the decisions that we make in the coming years are going to dramatically affect the direction that our city goes,” Aguilera said. “I wish to serve and represent all of you, and lead us through innovative solutions on how we can move forward in expanding opportunity, affordability, sustainability and inclusion.”
This isn’t his first run at the city council. In January, he was one of six finalists selected to interview for former Councilor Alishia Topper’s seat after she was elected Clark County treasurer. The spot went to Erik Paulsen, but Aguilera was nominated by Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle for his work with eastside neighborhood associations, as well as his experience as an educator.
As it stands, the race for Turlay’s seat is wide open. The 83-year-old, two-term councilor told The Columbian earlier this week that he wouldn’t be seeking re-election, citing a reluctance to go through the rigors of finding donors and campaigning again.
In throwing his hat in the ring, Aguilera goes up against two other candidates: Diana Perez, an employee with the USDA Forest Service and fellow finalist for Topper’s seat, and Sarah Fox, an urban planner for the city of Camas who narrowly lost an election against City Councilor Laurie Lebowsky in November.
Aguilera filed with the Public Disclosure Commission on Wednesday evening, allowing his campaign to start raising and spending money. He’ll also have to file a declaration of candidacy with the county auditor during the week of May 13 in order to appear on the Aug. 6 primary ballot.
The top two finalists for the Position 6 seat will advance to the general election on Nov. 5.