Norman Harker, the incumbent District 2 commissioner at the Clark Regional Waste Water District, is facing political newcomer Bruce Campbell in Tuesday’s general election.
The district’s customer base has grown nearly 40 percent in the last 10 years, and it’s not likely to stop as the county’s population keeps increasing. The role, a six-year term, is part of a three-member board that oversees the organization and its 88 full-time positions, 600 miles of sewer lines and 60 pump stations.
Campbell, who recently retired from 30 years in financial leadership positions, said he wants to keep rates low and help develop the economy and draw jobs into the county.
“Our county should be using everything in our toolbox to draw business and jobs back across the river from Oregon, especially as Oregon considers new tolls for cross-state commuters,” he wrote in an email to The Columbian. “Wastewater access can — and should — be used as one of the levers for economic development.”
Harker, with a background in the Oregon State Highway Department, is a licensed professional engineer and owner of Harker Engineering. He said he wants to maintain low rates and provide excellent customer service.
Voters elected Harker to the position in 2016 unopposed, and he has a long, wide-reaching background in wastewater, including president of the Washington Association of Sewer and Water Districts. He currently serves as secretary on the commission.
“It’s been an honor to serve district customers this last term, accomplishing so much, but two achievements make me proudest,” Harker wrote in a Voters’ Pamphlet statement. “First, I was instrumental in starting an internship program for college students interested in civil engineering and wastewater management. Second, I helped develop policies to sustain incredible district growth while keeping low rates.”
Campbell wrote in an email to The Columbian that the district is “in need of a fresh perspective.”
“The incumbent has held his office for more than 20 years, and while I’m grateful for his service to our community, I believe that holding an elected office should be a temp job rather than a career,” Campbell wrote. “Occupying an office for too long increases the likelihood of abuse of power or maintaining tenure for personal gain and ego. Our government should be reflective of our community and that requires bringing in fresh perspectives and ideas every couple of terms.”
Harker did not respond to The Columbian for a request for a statement.
Bruce Campbell has no relation to the author of this article.