‘There is still an election for me to win’

Ramos presses on with Washougal mayoral bid after opponent’s arrest

She may now be the only candidate actively campaigning in the Washougal mayoral race, but Rochelle Ramos said she is not taking anything for granted.

Derik Ford, Ramos’ opponent in the Nov. 2 general election, suspended his campaign this month after being arrested on a domestic violence charge.

“This race has never been about Derik Ford,” Ramos told The Post-Record this week. “It has been about the future of Washougal and what’s best for our community. Nothing has changed for me — I will still be holding more ‘meet and greets’ and sharing what I can do, and will do, for Washougal. There is still an election for me to win.”

Despite his campaign suspension, Ford will still appear on the Nov. 2 ballot.

“His name does appear on the ballot,” Clark County auditor Greg Kimsey said. “We sent ballots to overseas and military voters (before he suspended his campaign).”

Ford and Ramos were both expected to appear at the Clark County League of Women Voters’ candidate forum on Sept. 22, but Ford was a no-show.

“Candidate Ford did confirm his attendance at this event, and we’ve attempted to contact him throughout these recent weeks, as well as today, with no response,” forum moderator Jan Van Dyke said on Sept. 22. “Due to our inability to reasonably reschedule this event, and his original confirmation of his attendance, we are going to proceed with the one candidate.”

Ramos said she assumes Ford’s failure to attend the forum is “confirmation that he is suspending his campaign.”

“He initially was going to participate,” Ramos said. “The date was even changed for him. He did not respond to their confirmation (request) after news came out of his arrest and did not participate, but I was still given the opportunity to answer the questions.”

During the forum, Ramos talked about her background and approach to handling some of Washougal’s most pressing issues, emphasizing that her three main areas of focus if elected would be public safety; community aesthetics and infrastructure; and fiscal responsibility.

Ramos works as a human resources director with PLEXSYS Interface Products, a Camas-based software company, and co-owns the Washougal-based, nonprofit Lunchmoney Indoor Skatepark. She has served on the Washougal Parks Board of Commissioners since 2018.

“I believe all of that makes me an excellent candidate for the mayor role and to serve the citizens of Washougal,” Ramos said. “I think the (current) setup, where the city manager is responsible for the personnel and the budgeting, and the mayor more responsible for ceremonial activities and running city council meetings and being the face of Washougal, is a perfect balance and aligns perfectly with my experience working in human resources and doing presentations and strategic planning and budgeting and policymaking.”

Ramos is tentatively scheduled to hold her next “meet-and-greet” event on Sunday, Oct. 17, at a location to be announced on her website, voterochelle.com.