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Thursday, February 22, 2024
Feb. 22, 2024

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Ridgefield City Council Position 3 panel’s only contested seat on Nov. 7 ballot

Longtime Councilor Lee Wells faces challenger Mark Tyler

By , Columbian staff writer
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Of all the cities within Clark County, Ridgefield has the most uncontested city council races on the Nov. 7 general election ballot.

Of Ridgefield’s seven council positions, five are on the ballot. Only Councilor Lee Wells, in the Position 3 seat, has a challenger. Running against Wells is attorney Mark Tyler.

One of the longest-serving members on the city council, Wells is seeking his fifth term in office. A graduate of Ridgefield High School, he has lived in the community for more than 60 years. He also served as president of the Ridgefield Junction Neighborhood Association and as the legislative director for the Clark/Cowlitz Farm Bureau.

In a statement for the Clark County Voters’ Pamphlet, Wells said it’s evident he has a vested interest in Ridgefield.

“I enjoy giving back to the community the knowledge that I have gleaned over the years,” Wells said in the statement. “

As for the city’s future, he said he’s focused on preserving Ridgefield’s hometown feel.

“I want to maintain a healthy and vibrant city and will continue to encourage citizens to participate to help make good decisions and retain our Ridgefield charm,” Wells said.

Challenger’s priorities

Among the thousands of new residents spurring Ridgefield’s rapid growth over the last decade were Tyler and his family. He said his family was drawn to the city by the safe and welcoming environment it offered.

“My primary goal is to keep Ridgefield the safe and family-friendly community it is as that community continues to grow,” Tyler said in a statement for the voters’ guide.

Tyler, who is a deputy prosecuting attorney with Clark County, said his two main priorities are to support law enforcement and to responsibly manage and use residents’ tax dollars.

“As a prosecutor, I have worked with and understand what law enforcement needs to effectively accomplish the difficult task of monitoring our city and keeping each of us safe,” he said in the statement. “I will work with our officers to ensure they have the resources they need to protect our city and themselves.”

As for the remaining council seats, Clyde Burkle is looking to be elected to the Position 2 seat. Burkle was appointed to the council in May after Councilor Rachel Coker resigned the previous month. Burkle, who has lived in Ridgefield for nearly two decades, was previously appointed to the council in July 2021 but later turned down the appointment. Burkle previously served on the city’s salary commission and budget review board and the Civil Service Commission.

Councilor Matt Cole is running for his first full term in office in the Position 4 council seat. Cole was appointed to the council in April 2022. Previously, he served on the city planning commission, was the citizen adviser on the budget advisory committee and represented Ridgefield on the Clark County Mosquito Control Board.

Councilor Rob Aichele is seeking his second term in office in the Position 5 seat. Aichele was first elected in 2019 after winning 54.75 percent of votes cast. Aichele previously served on the city planning commission.

In the Position 7 seat, Councilor Judy Chipman is also seeking her first full term in office. Chipman was appointed to the council in July 2021. Originally from Ridgefield, Chipman moved back to the area about nine years ago. She also previously served on the city planning commission.