After four years as Vancouver’s mayor, Anne McEnerny-Ogle makes a strong case to be reelected. The Columbian’s Editorial Board recommends a vote for McEnerny-Ogle in the Aug. 3 primary election.
As always, this is our recommendation. The Columbian trusts that voters will examine the candidates and the issues before casting an informed ballot. In so doing, they will find that McEnerny-Ogle has a lengthy record of public service and, equally important, a strong vision for the city.
McEnerny-Ogle was first elected to the city council in 2013 and was elected as mayor in 2017. Prior to running for office, she served on the city’s planning commission, regularly attended council workshops, and was a tireless volunteer for youth, police and fire organizations. As an elected official, she has continued that involvement while adding duties such as the C-Tran board of directors and the Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council.
Community involvement is essential to being an effective elected official; engaging with a broad swath of the community and learning about the public’s needs and interests leads to effective governance. Few people in this community have been as involved as McEnerny-Ogle over the past several decades.
That insight helped the city effectively manage the coronavirus pandemic. While no government had a perfect approach to an unforeseen economic shutdown, Vancouver developed a parklet plan for restaurants and instituted necessary code changes to help local businesses survive.
Meanwhile, when asked by the Editorial Board about how the city will look in 10 years, McEnerny-Ogle offers a thoughtful, realistic vision. She mentions expanded bus rapid transit; hopes that a new Interstate 5 Bridge will be close to completion; says, “we’ll continue going up more than out” in building for increased density; mentions the redevelopment of several former gravel pits; and lauds planned expansions for HP and Vancouver Clinic facilities.
That kind of detail stands in contrast to her two challengers.
On his campaign website, Doug Coop writes, “I am a Patriotic Statesman for good and responsible government. The foundation of my life is The Bible and The Constitution of the United States of America.” While many voters will be attracted by that statement, Coop would be a more viable candidate if he knew more about the city.
When asked about a development plan for the Heights District, he said, “I’m not that familiar with the plan.” The project, which would develop a 200-acre site in the heart of the city over the span of two decades, has been in the works for more than three years and has been the topic of intense public discussion.
The third candidate, Earl Bowerman, is focusing his campaign on slogans backed by few details. His campaign website includes: “Vancouver must not become Portland!” and “No new taxes!” and “Let’s support police again.” Notably, it is McEnerny-Ogle who has been endorsed by the Vancouver Police Officers Guild — as well as the local firefighters union.
While the position of mayor is nonpartisan, it should be mentioned that Bowerman — who declined an invitation to meet with the Editorial Board — is the immediate past chair of the Clark County Republican Party.
Indeed, Vancouver has issues that must be addressed, including a growing homeless population and economic recovery from the pandemic. Given her experience and her community involvement, McEnerny-Ogle is the best person to find solutions.
The Columbian’s Editorial Board cannot in good conscience make two recommendations for mayor. We believe Anne McEnerny-Ogle is the only viable choice.