Democrats list Pridemore as top choice for commissioner

The former state senator grew up in C-W

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A former Camas-Washougal area resident is the Clark County Democrats’ top choice for appointment to the Clark County Commission seat being vacated by Steve Stuart.

On Friday during a meeting of the Democratic Central Committee, Craig Pridemore received the most votes, followed by Kelly Love Parker, Vancouver Chamber of Commerce executive director and retired labor leader Ed Barnes.

According to Washington state law, the central committee of the party held by the resigning county official submits a list of three names in order of preference to the remaining county commissioners — Tom Mielke and David Madore — who have 60 days to select a replacement from the list. Stuart is a Democrat. If an appointment is not made during that time, Gov. Jay Inslee makes the appointment.

Pridemore, 53, was a Third District Clark County commissioner from 1999 to 2004. He served as Democratic state senator from the 49th Legislative district from 2005 to 2012, when he left to pursue an unsuccessful bid for Washington State auditor.

Pridemore said knowledge of law and finance are critical aspects of the commissioner job.

“My top priority will be transparent and inclusive governance for the citizens of Clark County,” he said. “It’s equally critical that the board have a strong and knowledgeable voice on public finance. I’m very concerned about the state of the county’s criminal justice system and its ability to keep our community safe in the future.”

Pridemore grew up in Washougal, Camas and Vancouver, served in the Army and graduated from the University of Washington.

He currently works as the chief financial officer for the Washington State Department of Licensing.

“Returning to politics is not something I thought I would ever do,” Pridemore said. “I’m happy with my current life and love my job and co-workers. These are unusual times, however, and I think we all have a duty to do our best to ensure a positive and productive future for our community. I believe I bring qualifications to the job that few citizens in the district can.”

The District 3 seat will be on the Nov. 4 General Election ballot. Filing week is May 12 through 16. The position currently pays $106,224 annually.

Stuart, who was appointed to the commission in 2004, announced in January that he would not run for re-election to a third term. Earlier this month, he was hired by Ridgefield to be its next city manager. He will start his new job on April 14.

An open house to honor Stuart’s service is planned for Thursday, from 3 to 5 p.m., on the sixth floor of the Clark County Public Service Center, 1300 Franklin St. Presentations begin at 4 p.m.