Washougal mayor to vie for 17th District seat

David Stuebe announces bid for Position 2; says he also wants to retain mayoral seat

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Washougal Mayor David Stuebe (right) talks with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg in Washougal, July 7, 2023. (Contributed photo courtesy of the city of Washougal)

Washougal Mayor David Stuebe is hoping his next “epic” adventure will take him straight to the Washington State Capitol in Olympia.

Late last week, Stuebe, Washougal’s mayor since September 2022, announced his candidacy for the Washington state House of Representatives 17th Legislative District, Position 2, seat currently held by Rep. Paul Harris (R-Vancouver).

Harris recently announced he intends to run for the 17th District senate seat held by Republican Sen. Lynda Wilson. Wilson, who was reelected in November 2020, announced in March that she would not run for reelection this fall and would be stepping away from politics to spend more time with her family.  

Stuebe said it was actually Harris and Wilson who urged him to run for Harris’ 17th District seat as a Republican.

“They were like, ‘Hey, you got to go for Paul’s spot.’ I was like, ‘Yeah … no. I love being the mayor,’” Stuebe told The Post-Record.

If elected to the 17th District — which represents constituents in east Vancouver, Camas, Washougal and spans from Interstate 205 east to Underwood, Washington, in the Columbia River Gorge, and north to Mount St. Helens, the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and the western edge of the Mt. Adams Recreational Area — Stuebe intends to retain his position as Washougal’s mayor. 

Stuebe said he checked with Washougal City Manager Dave Scott to see if retaining both positions at the same time would be legal. When Scott told Stuebe he could be Washougal’s mayor and a state representative, Stuebe decided to go for it. 

“Why not?,” he said. “I’ve got the energy, I’ve got the motivation, and I really have the desire.”

Stuebe said the past five years — with his successful runs for the Washougal City Council and then the city’s mayoral position — have been “epic.”
“I’ve learned so much,” Stuebe said, adding that he has been frustrated by things that impact the city of Washougal that are controlled at the state level. 

“All these mandated projects that are unfunded,” Stube said, “How can (the state) ask us to do these things when we have to come up with the money?”

Stuebe said his campaign will focus on public safety, affordable housing and the development of stronger communities in Southwest Washington.

“I would say, two years ago, I was in awe walking around Olympia, walking around Washington, D.C. But now I’m friends with these guys,” he said. “I’m friends with (U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete) Buttigieg. How many mayors could say that? I’ve got this momentum going. It’s funny. My wife said, ‘You’re going to be disappointed being mayor because you can’t fix everything.’ I was like, ‘Well, sure I can,’” Stuebe said. “I’ve realized that you can’t make everybody happy, but I can bring people together and bring people across the table. I think I could bring common sense to what’s going on. Everybody complains about how messed up the government is, all the problems, not being represented. … I want to give it a shot. I have that self-confidence, that I can go in there and make a difference and really make something important happen.”

Stuebe graduated from the University of Redlands in California with a degree in political science and served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 30 years, retiring as a colonel. Stuebe, who has lived in Washougal since 2007, also worked in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries for more than 20 years. His local public service career began in March 2021, when he was appointed to the Washougal City Council. In November 2021, voters elected Stuebe to his Council position and his fellow officials named him mayor pro tem. When Washougal Mayor Rochelle Ramos moved away from Washougal in September 2022, the Council selected Stuebe as her temporary replacement. Voters made it formal in November 2023, and the newly elected mayor said he has since worked to prioritize public safety initiatives, promote community policing efforts and enhance emergency response capabilities.

“I’m going to all these different things, learning about everybody’s issues. My biggest thing is I’m trying to remove hurdles so all these great people can serve and do the great things that they do, not only for Washougal, but for Clark County and everywhere else,” Stuebe said. “I just think I can have a bigger impact. I can make a difference. That’s why I’m excited about doing this.”

The filing deadline for the 2024 Washington state House of Representatives elections is May 10. The primary election will take place Aug. 6, and the general election is set for Nov. 5.