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Tuesday, February 20, 2024
Feb. 20, 2024

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Clark County Council’s lone Dem Temple Lentz won’t seek reelection

By , Columbian staff writer

Clark County Councilor Temple Lentz announced Friday she won’t be seeking another term in office.

Lentz made the announcement in a Facebook post, stating “It has been a rare opportunity and a great honor to represent the people of Clark County’s District 1, as well as to meet and talk with community members and business leaders from outside the district who saw me as someone on the council who was interested in representing their concerns.”

Representing the county’s southwest corner, she has been the lone Democrat on the council. Last November, voters approved a charter amendment making the offices nonpartisan.

The post quickly drew dozens of responses from her supporters, many calling it “a sad for Clark County” and thanking Lentz for service to the community.

Lentz said she remains grateful for the support of those who first encouraged her to run and everyone who helped with her campaign. She said she decided to announce her decision ahead of the May 20 election filing deadline to give interested candidates time to consider running.

Lentz said in an interview Friday that it’s anyone’s guess who will run.

“That’s not up to me and I don’t know who intends to run. I’m not in the prediction business,” she said.

According to the Washington Public Disclosure Commission, there are no candidates soliciting donations yet for the District 1 seat.

Lentz ran an aggressive race in 2018 far outpacing her competitors in campaign contributions. She raised more than $62,000 in contributions, Republican County Councilor Jeanne Stewart raised $9,888 and seven-term former Democratic state Rep. Jim Moeller took no contributions.

Lentz previously worked as business director for the Heather DeFord Group at Cascade Sotheby’s International Realty. She also served on the Clark County Board of Freeholders. Lentz said she plans to continue serving the public.

“I’m not going anywhere. I’m not necessarily even leaving public service. There will be other opportunities for me to serve the community. We’ll see what they are,” she said.

As for why she decided not seek to reelection, Lentz said there wasn’t one single reason or issue.

“There were a lot of different factors. I’d say at this point, this is just this decision I needed to make for me,” she said.

With almost eight months remaining in her term, Lentz said there is still much work ahead for the county council.

“For the remainder of my term I will continue to be a strong voice for better government in Clark County, and I will continue to be an example of an elected official who does their homework, listens to understand, and puts community benefit over partisanship,” she said.

What she is most proud of her during her time in office is being able to give a voice to her constituents and to those outside of her district who didn’t feel they were being represented. She is also proud of her work to make county government more transparent and better defined.

“A consistent focus of mine for the time that I’ve been in office, and that I will keep focused on, is that this council needs to have strong process behind everything that it does. I feel that I have helped improve, and in some cases create, those processes. And I will continue to do that,” Lentz said.

Lentz said it’s important to recognize that much of the council’s work isn’t just a decision made on a specific day at a specific hearing.

“It’s how we go about answering the questions in order to solve problems. I have consistently tried to keep the council focused on the big picture,” she said.

It’s also important for the council to focus on decisions that benefit the community as a whole rather than special projects or special interests, Lentz said.