While the majority college-age individuals refrain from voting in municipal elections, Nicholas Freese, public affairs junior and the newly hired Assistant Director of Legislative Affairs for the ASWSUV said that “it’s important to vote in local elections because it’s the main institution of change and advocacy.” For the City of Vancouver, the latest local election cycle has taken several twists.
In the race for City Mayor, recent events have locked up the spot for candidate and current Mayor Pro Tem, Anne McEnerny-Ogle.
Challenger Steven Cox released a statement on Sept. 26 announcing his withdrawal from the Mayoral race following a quarrel with city councilor Jack Burkman, who is retiring (more on who is running to replace him below). At a city council meeting the previous, Steven Cox accused Jack Burkman of limiting his free speech at a previous community meeting that Burkman had in fact not attended.
“Integrity is a value I hold very dear,” Jack Burkman said in an interview with Molly Solomon of Oregon Public Broadcasting. “And for someone to accuse me of shouting them down when they were speaking, effectively using the power of my office to silence them, bothered me greatly.”
Cox’s statement recanted, saying “Burkman is an upstanding citizen and credit to his community and I sincerely apologize for mistakenly using his name. The shame is mine and not his.”
In the statement, Cox goes on to resign from numerous community positions and organizations, including Chairman of Burnt Bridge Creek Neighborhood Association and the Republican Party. He explains that he has struggled with mental health as a veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder. In a separate incident after withdrawing, the Columbian reported that on October 18th Cox shot and killed a suspected trespasser after a physical altercation. Further details on that incident haven’t yet been released.
In an interview with Katy Sword of the Columbian, Anne McEnerny-Ogle expressed her surprise at Cox’s withdrawal and stated that “Nothing really changes. This may be a marathon where Mr. Cox is sitting on a bench right now, but I still need to cross the finish line.” Because of the late withdrawal, Cox will still appear on Vancouver City ballots in November.
Anne McEnerny-Ogle is the member of the City Council with the second-shortest tenure, after Ty Stober, having taken office on Jan. 1, 2014. She is the only educator on the City Council, having taught 30 years in Oregon schools. Attend any community event in the city of Vancouver and you will be
accustomed to seeing her—like a self-duplicating community leader, she seems to attend them all.
After garnering over 63 percent of the vote in the primary according to the Clark County Elections Office, McEnerny-Ogle will likely become the next mayor of Vancouver.
City Council, position 1
After a years-long battle with cancer, candidate for city council Scott Campbell passed away on Sunday, September 17th, leaving only one candidate left. He had come out of the crowded primary election with over half the vote—and knocked out two of our peers, Jacob Kerr and Nicolette Horaites.
Horaites, Washington State University Vancouver anthropology student and primary candidate released a statement saying, “I’m saddened to learn about Scott Campbell’s passing. My heart is with his family and friends. His years of service to our community will never be forgotten. His legacy will always be with us.” Horaites attained the third-most votes in the primary, receiving nearly 12 percent of the total count, just 5 points shy of the second-highest vote-getter, Maureen McGoldrick. Kerr, an accounting and management information systems major at WSUV received nearly as many votes as Horaites but finished in fourth place.
Not much is known about McGoldrick, the only remaining general election candidate. She has not done any forums, community meetings, or Columbian editorial interviews and does not have campaign websites or social media. The only information known about McGoldrick comes from her response to LifePac.org’s survey wherein she notes that she opposes recreational marijuana and abortion. When called for comment, she did not respond by press time.
In the event that Campbell wins the general election, the Vancouver City Council will appoint an interim replacement until the 2018 election.
City Council, position 2
Flying even further under the radar has been the odd race between incumbent Alishia Topper and newcomer Justin Forsman. After a stinging defeat in last year’s race for State Representative in the 49th Legislative District, Topper has run a scarce campaign. Although she has raised over $11,000, she has spent only $1,891.92 according to the Public Disclosure Commission as of press time and has posted only four times on social media since announcing her candidacy in March. Topper’s official City Council biography says she is a Washington State University alumna who attended on a track and field scholarship.
Forsman’s platform looks nearly identical to Topper’s focus on affordable housing and traffic congestion, except for one element: implementing a local currency backed by silver. In an interview with the Columbian on Sept. 29, Forsman advocated for increased funding for homeless shelters and lowering taxes while Topper focused on waterfront development.
City Council, position 3
In the seat that is being vacated by Anne McEnerny-Ogle, candidates Linda Glover and Michelle Beardshear have made it to the general election.
Beardshear is a disability advocate and uses a wheelchair. Public safety and accessibility is a pillar of her campaign. She is a Clark Public Utilities employee and owner of the small business Sampson’s Snack Shack, whose business license expired in July according the Secretary of State’s office.
Linda Glover is a business and jobs supporter who is the Executive Director of Gifts For Our Community, the nonprofit that operates Divine Consign and bdivine clothing. Glover received over 60 percent of the vote in the primary election and is widely considered to be a lock for the position in November, barring unforeseen circumstances.