It appears Ray Kutch will retain his seat on the Washougal city council.
With 73 percent of ballots counted as of 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5, Kutch had earned 74 percent of the votes for the city’s No. 5 council position to take a commanding lead over challenger Denise Korhonen.
“I’m pleased with (the result),” Kutch said. “I think I’ve done a decent job as a council member. I enjoy being of service to the community, and I’m glad to get recognized as having done a good job. I was feeling pretty confident. I was getting support from many people who don’t necessarily think like I do. They realize I want to do what’s best for the community.”
In February 2017, Washougal city council members appointed Kutch, who was running against nine other applicants, to fill a seat left vacant after Washougal city councilwoman Jennifer McDaniel resigned. In November 2017, voters elected Kutch to serve the remainder of McDaniel’s term.
“We have to be collaborative,” he said. “We have to work with each other regardless of political thinking. We can complain about everything that’s going on nationally, but the most important things happening right now are in the local communities. If we don’t get it right here, how can we expect Olympia or Washington D.C. to do it right?”
Kutch served in the U.S. Navy from 1963 to 1970, earning “four or five medals” for his performance as a pilot during the Vietnam War, then served as a Naval instructor for several years.
After earning a master’s degree from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., Kutch moved to Vancouver in 1979, then to Washougal in 1990. He worked as a salesman at the Portland branch of Ingersoll Rand, an industrial manufacturing company, before becoming the owner of Dodge City Bar & Grill, a western-themed tavern in Vancouver and Camas, from 1992 to 2013.
Kutch has been married to his wife, Judy, for 55 years and has three children and six grandchildren.