Vote Rivers, Pike, Cortes for 18th District

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18th District state senator

The two candidates running for the 18th District senate seat — Republican Ann Rivers of La Center and Democrat Ralph Schmidt of Camas — provide voters with two very different options.

Rivers, owner of a small public and governmental affairs firm, has been known in regional political circles for several years. In 2010, she was elected to the 18th District House seat. By 2012, she had accomplished enough to earn the confidence of Clark and Cowlitz county commissioners and be appointed to the 18th District senate seat to replace Joe Zarelli, following his resignation in May.

To her credit, during her time in elected office Rivers has made efforts to stay in touch with the different areas of her district. She has been spotted at local City Council meetings and other Camas-Washougal public events, even while not on the campaign trail.

On the issues, she says she wants to tackle unemployment, not an uncommon political rallying cry, but she lays out a doable plan to get there. That plan includes a focus on creating an environment where small businesses can thrive, and a government that doesn’t stand in the way with unnecessary rules and regulations. Also of note, she offers a logical skepticism of the Columbia River Crossing planning process and the proposed project, and supports a government that prioritizes its needs and justifies its spending requests on an annual basis.

In his response to questions posed by the Post-Record, Schmidt’s primary platform issue appears to be changing the state’s tax structure but he provides no specifics how that might be accomplished. And to make it even more challenging for voters to understand his views and goals if elected, he failed to set up a campaign website — practically a must in today’s world where people want quick and easy access to details about a candidate’s background and views. He also didn’t submit a statement in the Washington State voter’s pamphlet, which certainly brings into question his commitment to earning citizens’ votes for the 18th District state representative seat.

In the race for 18th District state senator, Ann Rivers has the experience, passion and commitment to get the job done.

18th District state rep., Position 2

In the 18th Legislative District race for state representative Position 2, Camas resident Liz Pike, owner of Pike Advertising Agency, is running against David Shehorn of Vancouver, a retired computer systems engineer.

This contest pits two candidates who have widely different backgrounds and philosophies pertaining to how Washington state government can best serve its citizens.

Shehorn, 67, speaks in general terms about government, business and education working together to provide a trained workforce to meet industry needs. He places special emphasis on the need for universities and government to partner to find hi gh-tech solutions to energy, agricultural and environmental problems.

But Shehorn doesn’t provide many specifics about how these kinds of grand partnerships could happen in this state’s tough economic climate. And when he casually suggests that the federal government needs to pick up more of the costs of the Columbia River Crossing, which he heartily endorses and suggests that both a local sales tax and bridge tolling should be implemented to help cover CRC maintenance costs, it becomes clear that he hasn’t put much thought into viable solutions, other than to raise taxes.

Pike, 52, is a former Camas city councilwoman who has been involved in local politics for years, mostly with the Clark County Republican Party. Pike can be blunt, even downright abrasive to some, traits she may need to temper if she is elected to the legislature.

But there’s no question where she stands on the importance of the state getting its fiscal house in order. And she has several ideas about how the state could start in that process.

For starters, Pike feels the state should balance the budget without new taxes, revenues or fee increases. She feels there are onerous rules and regulations at state agencies that hamper business development that should be eliminated. Pike favors prioritizing government spending and if necessary freezing it. And, she advocates for free market competition on industrial insurance and moving state worker pensions to a defined contribution program.

In short, Pike favors many big changes in the way the state does business. And with the state constantly facing revenue shortfalls and scrambling to balance its budget, Pike’s style of thinking deserves a chance in Olympia, where big change is needed but rarely happens quickly.

The Post-Record recommends Liz Pike for state representative in the 18th District, Position 2.

18th District state rep., Position 1

The Position 1 race features two Republicans: Battle Ground City Councilman Adrian Cortes and Brandon Vick, director of sales and marketing for a family-owned landscape company.

Putting aside the fact that after filing for the position Cortes changed his mind and said he wasn’t interested, then recanted and re-entered the race after the Primary, looking at his background he would bring a number of strong characteristics and qualities to the state representative position. He’s a small business owner and has been involved in a variety of local endeavors related to politics, government affairs, education and non-profit organizations. He takes a stand against the Columbia River Crossing project as currently presented and advocates for responsible government spending.

Although Vick should be credited for his strong opinions on issues including the CRC project and creating jobs, Cortes’ breadth of local experience puts him ahead as the right choice state representative.