All labor-backed candidates for Vancouver City Council win


VANCOUVER — Labor-endorsed Tim Leavitt won re-election as Vancouver mayor. He defeated challenger Bill Turlay, a city commissioner, 52.44 percent to 47.56 percent.

Turnout for the general election was 36.82 percent of registered voters.

“I feel really good, and I hope each of you do, about where we’re headed for the next four years,” Leavitt said at his election night party.

The Columbia River Crossing was a big issue in this race, though the City Council has no official role in the project. Leavitt, a 42-year-old civil engineer, is a staunch advocate for the Interstate-5 Bridge replacement project between Portland and Vancouver. He used it as a pillar of his campaign. In the weeks prior to the election, Leavitt purchased a billboard ad near the bridge so Vancouver commuters were reminded of his position.

Turlay, 77, opposes the CRC and light rail to Vancouver. Throughout the campaign, Turlay criticized Leavitt for his support of the bridge.

Joining Leavitt on the City Council will be newcomers Alishia Topper and Anne McEnerny-Ogle. Both were endorsed by labor. Topper defeated three-term incumbent Jeanne Stewart, taking 52.16 percent of the vote. McEnerny-Ogle defeated Frank Decker, capturing 56.72 percent of the vote. McEnerny-Ogle and Decker had advanced in the August primary after outpolling 17-year commissioner Jeanne Harris.

Incumbent City Councilor Jack Burkman — also endorsed by labor  — defeated Micheline Doan, 52 percent to 48 percent.

Turlay will retain his seat on the City Council to finish out his term.

“This year, there were two very distinct sets of philosophies,” Burkman told the Columbian newspaper. He described himself and the other winners as “looking to the future, progressive, and willing to take bold steps.”

Each of the winners support the Columbia River Crossing. All of the losers campaigned against it.

“I’m extremely pleased with the results,”  Leavitt said. “Given all the rhetoric out there, this is a nice mandate for our community.”

Five labor-backed candidates for freeholder were also victorious. Clark County is electing 15 nonpartisan freeholders to draft a new county charter. They will have 13 months to draft a proposal for voters. If the voters reject the proposal, or if the freeholders can’t agree on a draft charter, Clark County will remain a statute code county. If a majority of voters agree with the charter proposal, it will be enacted.

The Southwest Washington Central Labor Council and Columbia Pacific Building and Construction Trades Council took positions in all 15 races.

Among the endorsed winners were union members Temple Lentz in District 3, Position 1; and Jim Moeller in District 3, Position 3.

Lentz, a member of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555, captured 26.3 percent of the votes in a 13-person race.

Moeller, a member of the Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals Local 5017, outpolled eight opponents with 35.5 percent of the vote.

Other labor-endorsed winners were Paul Dennis in District 2, Position 4; Pat Jollota in District 3, Position 1; and Val Ogden in District 3, Position 2.

Endorsed union members Bob Carroll, Jamie Hurly, Rob Lutz and Tom Lawrence all fell short in their respective races.

In other Clark County election results, Dave Town, a retired union officer of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 5, was elected to the Clark County Fire and Rescue Commission.


Genetic food labeling initiative I-522 fails

Statewide ballot initiative I-522 was  defeated by Washington voters, 52.42 percent to 47.58 percent. (It failed in Clark County, 56.84 percent to 43.16 percent.) The labor-backed initiative sought to require labeling of genetically engineered foods sold in the state.

Multinational corporations like biotechnology giant Monsanto, Dow Chemical, and Coca-Cola contributed millions to the No on I-522 campaign. Overall, nearly $32 million was  raised to defeat the measure, setting a state record for money spent against a ballot measure.

Polling in September showed 66 percent of voters supported I-522. By mid-October the percentage of supporters had shrunk to 46 percent, with 12 percent undecided. Most of those undecideds voted against the measure on Election Day.

Voter turnout statewide was 38.31 percent.


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