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The following is presented as part of The Columbian’s Opinion content, which offers a point of view in order to provoke thought and debate of civic issues. Opinions represent the viewpoint of the author. Unsigned editorials represent the consensus opinion of The Columbian’s editorial board, which operates independently of the news department.

In Our View: Paulsen clear choice to remain on Vancouver City Council

The Columbian
Published: October 1, 2019, 6:03am

When Clark County voters receive their ballots for the general election in a couple weeks, there will be no easier decision than to mark Erik Paulsen for Vancouver City Council, Position 2.

Ballots are scheduled to be mailed Oct. 18 for the Nov. 5 election. All ballots in Washington are delivered by mail, and may be returned by mail (no postage required) or at an official drop box. If you have not yet registered to vote, information is available on the Clark County Elections website.

In preparation for the election, The Columbian’s Editorial Board has been interviewing candidates and studying the issues to help inform voters. Today’s editorial is the first in a series of recommendations we will offer prior to the mailing of ballots.

As we will remind readers with each editorial, these are merely recommendations designed to foster discussion and provide information. We trust that Clark County residents will examine the candidates and ballot measures before casting an informed ballot.

To further assist with that, the editorial board posts videos of interviews with candidates, and the voters’ pamphlet includes information about those seeking office.

For most races, we will highlight the strengths of the candidates and try to explain why we believe one is more qualified than the other. And in the case of Vancouver City Council, Position 2, there is only one reasonable choice.

Paulsen was appointed to the council by sitting members in January, replacing Alishia Topper following her election as Clark County treasurer. Previously, he served on the Vancouver Planning Commission. “Through the planning commission,” he said, “we understand a lot more about what the city does.”

Paulsen, whose professional background is in the banking industry, also has served on the Southwest Clean Air Agency and the city’s Affordable Housing Task Force, in addition to working with the Clark County Food Bank, Friends of Trees and the Washington Trails Association. That long-standing commitment to the community prepared him to serve on the city council and provides a marked contrast to his opponent in the general election.

Maureen McGoldrick, who advanced to the November election by receiving 20 percent of the vote in a three-person primary race, lists community service in Portland and Southern California among her qualifications. While we respect those efforts, it is clear that Paulsen’s work throughout Clark County marks him as the superior candidate.

In addition, McGoldrick has run for city council twice previously in recent years, yet has always declined media interviews and has made few public appearances. This leads us to question how accountable she would be as a city councilor.

Since joining the council, Paulsen has exhibited thoughtfulness. He 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.”

Paulsen has spent years developing that vision. Because of that, The Columbian’s Editorial Board believes Erik Paulsen is the clear choice for Vancouver City Council, Position 2.