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News / Politics / Clark County Politics

140 toss hats into ring for 92 Clark County offices

2 Vancouver council races get even more crowded as filing week comes to close

By Adam Littman, Columbian Staff Writer,
Calley Hair, Columbian staff writer, and
Katie Gillespie, Columbian Education Reporter
Published: May 17, 2019, 10:20pm

Clark County filing week wrapped up with a bang Friday evening, with a total of 140 candidates offering themselves up for 92 offices on the Aug. 6 primary ballot.

The races for Vancouver City Council saw a surprise spate of last-minute candidates before the filing period closed at 5 p.m.

Erik Paulsen’s Position 2 seat went from unchallenged to a three-way race in the span of a couple of hours.

Maureen McGoldrick, who ran for the council in 2017 and 2018, threw her hat into the ring. Shortly after, Justin Forsman, who in 2015 ran a colorful city council campaign focused on eliminating fluoride from Vancouver’s water, also filed for the seat.

Further down the ticket, another face joined the race to succeed Bill Turlay in Position 6. Paul Montague, a mainstay in the Vancouver Chamber of Commerce and Identity Clark County, decided at the last minute to launch a campaign. As the final candidate running for Position 6, Montague rounds out a seven-way race — easily the most competitive 2019 race in Clark County.

For the other two Vancouver council seats up for election, there weren’t any surprises. David Regan launched his planned campaign against incumbent Ty Stober for Position 5 earlier this week. And Bart Hansen, Position 4 councilor and mayor pro tem, will enjoy the only unchallenged race in Vancouver.

School boards

A flurry of school board filings were notable not only for who filed, but who didn’t.

Four people are running for each of the three open Vancouver Public Schools Board of Directors slots this year. One incumbent, Dale Rice, is among the dozen candidates.

Rosemary Fryer, a retired teacher and school board president, and Michelle Giovannozzi, director of Portland State University’s Center for Executive and Professional Education, are not running for second terms on the board.

“I just decided not to run,” said Fryer. “I have my family to consider. I would like to retire sometime. That’s pretty much it.”

Giovannozzi and her husband both work in Oregon, and with their youngest daughter graduating from high school this year, she said it’s time for the family to “reduce our commutes.”

“I will truly miss working with the staff and leadership of Vancouver Public Schools,” she said. “It is a privilege to serve as a board director.”

At 4:16 p.m., Kyle Sproul brought her children to the Clark County Elections Office to register her candidacy, joining a slate of candidates dominated by parents, teachers and school employees, and one high school senior. Sproul is running for Position 1, the seat held by Rice.

Sproul said she’s motivated by closing the achievement gap for Clark County’s most underserved students.

“It sends a chill down my spine,” she said, pointing to the challenges that students of color, particularly Hispanic and Latino students, and low-income students face in Vancouver Public Schools.

While the district has a lot to be proud of, particularly its programs of choice such as the Vancouver School of Arts and Academics, those accomplishments will always be tarnished so long as achievement gaps for some students exist, she said.

“We cannot be feeling so proud of this select group of programs while ignoring such a substantial performance gap,” Sproul said.

Kathy Decker, a kindergarten teacher at Peter S. Ogden Elementary School, was also a late filer, submitting her candidacy at 4:45 p.m. Friday for the Position 4 slot. Decker described herself as a “veteran teacher” who worked for a decade in Virginia and Oregon. She spent seven years teaching in preschools before returning to public schools this year — she doesn’t plan on returning since she’s running for school board, she said.

Decker said her experience makes her an early childhood education advocate, and she said she plans to run to champion low-income students whose families may not have been able to afford preschool programs.

“We need to start focusing again on what kids really need,” she said.

Jennifer Hawks-Conright, a mother who works at the Clark County Association of Realtors, and Scott Dalesandro, a retired logistics manager who previously ran for Port of Vancouver and state Legislature, also filed Friday.

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Evergreen Public Schools will see a smaller slate of candidates this term. Elizabeth Sahler, who previously filed to run against incumbent Rob Perkins and challenger Bethany Rivard, said on Friday she would be withdrawing her candidacy.

Sahler said she spoke to Rivard for about an hour and decided her efforts would be better served throwing her weight behind the Fort Vancouver High School Center for International Studies teacher, who she said shares her beliefs and values.

“She seems to be right in line with sort of what I was thinking,” Sahler said.

No additional candidates filed for Battle Ground Public Schools Board of Directors. That leaves newly appointed board members Rob Henrikson and Mark Watrin all but guaranteed to keep their seats in the north Clark County school district.

In Camas, James Rogers and Hannah Rogers filed to run for a seat on the school board against incumbent Erika Cox. Greg Gospe will seek another term on the Hockinson School Board and Karl Kanthak will look to remain on the Mount Pleasant School District board, as both filed to run for re-election.

Doug Uno filed to run against Tammy Graham for a seat on the Woodland Public Schools board, David Kelly will run against incumbent Scott Hughes for a seat on the Port of Ridgefield commission and Megan Evans filed to run for a seat on the Woodland Pool and Recreation commission.

Small-city races

On Thursday, Shauna Walters withdrew her filing for Battle Ground City Council Position 7 and instead filed to run for Position 3. She felt she would have a better shot at the open seat in Position 3 instead of running against incumbent Philip Johnson for Position 7.

Johnson isn’t running unopposed, though, as two candidates filed to run against him on Friday: Joshua VanGelder and Katrina Negrov.

Elsewhere in the small cities, Camas Mayor Shannon Turk will have an opponent, as Rory Magner filed to run on Friday. Shannon Roberts will run against incumbent Deanna Rusch for a seat on the Camas City Council. Former paper mill worker Denise Korhonen filed to run against incumbent Ray Kutch for a Washougal City Council seat.

Two familiar faces filed to run for a council seat in La Center, as incumbent Elizabeth Cerveny filed to run for re-election, and former councilor Linda Tracy filed to run for the same seat. Tracy most recently ran for city council in 2017, dropping her race to Doug Boff. Brittney Tracy filed to run for mayor against incumbent Greg Thornton.

In Ridgefield, Rob Aichele, a current member of the city’s planning commission, filed to run for Position 2 on the city council Friday, but later withdrew himself from the race. He then filed to run for Position 5 against incumbent Darren Wertz. Former city councilor Matt Swindell and Dana Ziemer, co-chair of Ridgefield School District’s Capital Facilities Advisory Committee, both already filed to run for Position 2. Ronald Rowan filed to run against incumbent Sandra Day for her seat on Ridgefield City Council, as well.

Keith Bellisle will take another shot at joining the Woodland City Council, as he filed to run against incumbent Karl Chapman for Position 4. Bellisle ran for a city council seat in 2017, but didn’t make it past the primary. That same year, DeeAnna Holland lost her race against Carol Rounds for a council seat. Holland, board president for Woodland Action and founder of the Woodland Laundry Love program, filed on Friday to run again for a city council seat. She will face off against Scott Peabody.

Incumbent Mike Benjamin withdrew his filing for Position 7 on Woodland City Council, leaving Monte Smith as the lone candidate for the seat.

Yacolt Mayor Vince Myers filed to run for re-election against Katelyn Listek, and incumbent Rhonda Rowe-Tice filed to run for re-election for her council seat against Marina Viray.

Columbian Staff Writer
Columbian staff writer
Columbian Education Reporter