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News / Politics / Clark County Politics

Battle Ground City Council member, former mayor Cortes launches Senate campaign for 18th Legislative District seat

By Dylan Jefferies, Columbian staff writer
Published: March 11, 2024, 4:46pm

Battle Ground City Council member and former mayor Adrian Cortes announced Monday he is running for state Senate in the 18th Legislative District.

Cortes, a Democrat, is serving his second consecutive term on the Battle Ground City Council. He served as mayor from 2020 to 2021. He also serves on the C-Tran board of directors, which he once chaired.

“I am no stranger to local government,” he told The Columbian Sunday. “I believe that our piece of Washington really needs a new brand of leadership.”

The 18th District was redrawn in 2022, meaning it is not the same group of voters that elected Republican Sen. Ann Rivers in 2020.

The district used to encompass Ridgefield, Yacolt and Washougal. Now, it includes Battle Ground and unincorporated areas of Felida, Salmon Creek, Brush Prairie and Vancouver.

Cortes has worked as a special education teacher in the Camas School District since 2015 and has a doctorate in education from George Fox University. His education experience informs his leadership, Cortes said.

“When you’re a special education teacher, your first and foremost job is to build relationships with your students, so they feel comfortable, so they feel safe, and to understand what shaped them,” he said. “As a city council member and as a mayor, you’re doing a lot of those same things. You’re interacting with the public that come from different places in life, and you are listening to their voice and trying to come to a consensus on how the community will move forward.”

As mayor, Cortes cut utility taxes, eliminated city debt and invested in public safety and roads.

In 2021, dozens of protesters rallied in front of his home after he resisted a “medical freedom” ordinance that would have prohibited vaccine mandates for city employees.

“I’m no stranger to tumultuous years, especially in my term as mayor,” he said. “From a global pandemic to extremists threatening our community out there in Battle Ground, I’ve dealt with some difficult times. Personally, I never thought I’d have extremists trying to intimidate me by protesting in front of my house and protesting in front of my daughter’s high school soccer game. While it’s nerve wracking, it also gives you moments to showcase courage and determination.”

Cortes’ priorities include improving education, transportation and public safety, as well as increasing affordable housing supply and decreasing rates of homelessness.

“My biggest priority is to represent my constituents authentically as myself,” he said. “Clark County isn’t Seattle or Olympia and shouldn’t be run by those with only those perspectives. I am a proud Democrat but I’m a Battle Ground Democrat.”

Cortes’ campaign launched with a list of endorsements, including 49th District lawmakers Vancouver Sen. Annette Cleveland and Reps. Monica Stonier and Sharon Wylie. Additional endorsements include Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle, former Clark County Treasurer Doug Lasher and former state Rep. Tim Probst.

Cortes said he aims to set “a good example of what good governance looks like” and that he wants to bring “a level of respect and kindness that is sorely missing in politics these days.”

To learn more about Cortes’ campaign, visit www.votecortes.com.