Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Reporter's Notebook

John McDonagh can be reached at

Politics and Business

Some years, election season is more about business than others. We believe the 2010 ballot is full of potential and consequence for business in Washington. For that reason, over the next six weeks Just Business and the Vancouver Business Journal will look at the various initiatives and candidates on the ballot.

The races and initiatives we think stand to have the greatest impact follow.

U.S. Senate: After 18 years Patty Murray was described Sunday by The Herald in Everett as “one of the most reliable Democratic votes in the Senate.” Dino Rossi has made it clear that he is a smaller government, lesser tax candidate. The winner here will weigh in on the next round of policy regarding healthcare, job creation and what to do with the national debt.

3rd Congressional District: Regardless of one’s political affiliation, Brian Baird’s absence from the Washington delegation will undoubtedly be felt. Republican candidate Jamie Herrera is coming off a solid first term as Washington state representative in the 18th District. Denny Heck, candidate for the Democrats, touts a strong career in state government followed by success in a number of small business ventures. Of late both are actively seeking that moderate middle ground.

State Representatives: Each of the local districts and positions has a race on the ballot with the exception of Position 2 in the 18th District, in which Ed Orcutt, incumbent Republican, is running unopposed. The other four districts all are contested and we’ll look more closely at the candidates as we approach Election Day November 2.

County Commissioner: Steve Stuart seeks his second four-year term as commissioner and is challenged by a competitor who’s been mostly absent from the campaign trail, Alan Svehaug. Though we’ve heard little from Alan during the campaign to this point, he promises to “work for you to bring more employment opportunities to Clark County by helping to enact business-friendly policies.”

Clark Public Utilities Commissioner: Nancy Barnes is seeking her third six-year term on the commission and brings with her a wealth of knowledge gleaned from nearly two decades. Her opponent, Mike Lyons, understands the role, having served 10 years as a fire commissioner. As new manufacturers locate in Clark County and existing manufacturers look to expand, the successful candidate here will determine whether the increased cost is born by all rate payers or the business user.

Vancouver City Council: Newly appointed councilman Bart Hansen seeks his first regular term on the council, having been appointed in January to fill the unexpired term left open when Tim Leavitt became mayor. Hanson is challenged by John Jenkins, who is running on a platform of experience and leadership, having served on a number of city committees as well as opposing any tolls on a reconstructed Columbia River Crossing.

Each race will have a direct effect on business. As Election Day approaches, we’ll see just how that might take shape.