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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: McEnerny-Ogle best for Vancouver mayor

The Columbian
Published: October 3, 2021, 6:03am

Like all municipalities, Vancouver is facing enormous challenges. Anne McEnerny-Ogle is a clear choice as the best person to shepherd the city through those challenges and into the future. The Columbian’s Editorial Board recommends that McEnerny-Ogle be reelected to the nonpartisan position of mayor.

As always, this is merely a recommendation. The Columbian suggests that voters study the candidates and the issues before making an informed choice.

In McEnerny-Ogle, they will find a candidate who has valuable experience backed by a strong record of leadership and an exceptional history of public service. Before being elected to the city council in 2013 – she was elected as mayor in 2017 – McEnerny-Ogle spent decades volunteering for countless community projects.

That has given her an unmatched understanding of our city and its people, along with a clear vision for the future. As she writes in the Voters’ Pamphlet: “For the past 41 years, I have worked diligently to help Vancouver become a more vibrant, safe, welcoming and prosperous city.”

Many candidates say they will focus on such things once they are elected. McEnerny-Ogle has lived it.

Now, with the COVID-19 pandemic, homelessness, climate change and rapid growth shaping the Vancouver of the future, McEnerny-Ogle is well-positioned to lead the way. “We made it through the pandemic, we made it through the recession, political unrest for racial justice, and I worked diligently to keep Vancouver moving forward,” she told the Editorial Board prior to the August primary election. “We are a thriving community. People are jumping at every opportunity to come and be with us.”

When asked about how the city will look in 10 years, McEnerny-Ogle 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 Hewlett-Packard and Vancouver Clinic facilities. She also has led the city toward a vast and promising redevelopment of the Heights District.

That is in sharp contrast to her challenger, Earl Bowerman, who 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.

Vancouver is in the midst of developing a Climate Action Plan, is creating dedicated encampments for the homeless population and is working diligently to manage growth. Those would be challenging during normal times, and the pandemic has exacerbated the difficulty.

McEnerny-Ogle has demonstrated strong leadership in the face of these challenges, and her sincere desire to connect with wide swaths of the population have helped inform her decision-making. For example, she told the Editorial Board that the city has a staff member in attendance at every neighborhood association.

Anne McEnerny-Ogle is the right person in the right job at the right time. The Columbian’s Editorial Board recommends that she be reelected as mayor of Vancouver.