School’s almost out, the fireworks sales tents are going up and the local TV weather personalities are talking about fire danger instead of snow levels. Spring is over; bring on … election season.
That’s right, our primary election is coming up Aug. 3. You’ll get your ballot in just about a month. We need to get started now on the coverage.
Although the presidential election years draw the most attention, it’s the odd-numbered years like 2021 that feature the local races that are arguably the most important to our everyday lives. Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle has a lot more influence upon bike lanes and police body cameras in Vancouver than President Joe Biden. And odd-numbered years are the ones where we choose school board members to oversee our children’s public education.
Since local candidates don’t buy TV ads, their names are likely to be less known to you than Jaime Herrera Beutler’s. And because most of the races are nonpartisan, you can’t vote the straight Republican (or Democrat) ticket. That means we here at The Columbian have a big responsibility to find out about the candidates and inform our readers about where they stand on the issues.
It will be a big job. I counted 19 contested races on this year’s primary ballot, including some in Vancouver, Battle Ground, Camas, La Center, Washougal, Yacolt, Hockinson, Hazel Dell/Salmon Creek and Fire District 5, which has a lot of taxpayers living north of central/east Vancouver.