The upcoming races for open positions on the Klickitat County Board of Commissioners have been finalized.
Two candidates have filed to replace Commissioner Rex Johnston upon his retirement from Commissioner Position 1, while three candidates have filed for Klickitat County Commissioner, Position 3. Position 1 represents the westward communities of Bingen, White Salmon, Husum, BZ Corner and Trout Lake. Position 3 covers the eastern side of the county, including Goldendale, Roosevelt, and Bickleton.
Voters will also decide the fate of a proposed levy increase on property taxes from $.368 to $.90 per $1,000 of assessed value to benefit Dallesport Fire Dist. 6.
The commission candidates filed by the May 18 deadline and will compete in the Aug. 4 primary, where the top-two vote recipients, regardless of party preference, will advance to the general election on Nov. 3.
Ballots will be mailed out by July 17.
The candidates running to replace Commissioner Rex Johnston in Position 1 are Joanna Turner, who prefers the Democratic Party, and Jacob Anderson, who prefers the Republican Party.
Turner, originally from St. Paul, Minn., has been a resident of Trout Lake for five years. Turner works as an advocate for Helping Hands Against Violence in Hood River and is a small business owner and a single mother of three. Turner currently serves on the Trout Lake Community Council. Previous experience includes serving as Board Chair for the Robbinsdale Food Co-Op.
Turner told Columbia Gorge News she was inspired to run after she had an experience where it felt like her voice was not heard by elected officials in the county. Turner said she would focus on creating a more transparent board and supporting more open communication with its constituents. She also said she supports reinstating the EDA grant program to invest in the local economy and create local jobs.
Anderson is also running for Position 1. Anderson has worked with Klickitat County’s Natural Resources and Economic Development Department for the past five years and currently serves on Klickitat County’s Planning Commission. Previous experience includes chair of the Husum-BZ Corner Community Council, chair of the board of the Underwood Conservation District, and serving on the Farmland Preservation Task Force.
Anderson told Columbia Gorge News his first focus would be to rebuild the communities affected by COVID-19 and the resulting economic downturn. Anderson said that would include working closely with the communities of Bingen and White Salmon to plan for future growth.
Incumbent Jim Sizemore, who prefers the Republican Party, will face a challenge from Dan Christopher, who also prefers the Republican Party, and Miland Walling, preference of Democratic Party, to hold Position 3.
Sizemore has served as Klickitat County Commissioner Position 3 since 2013. Other professional experience includes serving on the Central Klickitat Conservation District, Klickitat County Board of Equalization and the Land and Natural Resources Advisory Committee. Sizemore noted he also served as president of Washington State Cattlemen’s Association as well as the Klickitat County Livestock Growers. Sizemore is a graduate of the Prosser school system, according to his website.
According to his website, Sizemore “strongly supports infrastructure construction and maintenance.” He also cites support for veterans and creating job opportunities as part of his platform. Sizemore had not responded to an inquiry regarding his platform by press time.
Christopher is a resident of Centerville and owner of Freedom Star Ranch. Christopher cites prior political experience in founding the Mount Hood CCA and attending and testifying at various public meetings. He also cites multiple volunteer positions, such as Goldendale Grange Care Package Project in which food is provided to those in need. Christopher told Columbia Gorge News he is running on a platform of creating more transparency in the Board of County Commissioners, protecting residents’ second amendment rights, and creating jobs in the county.
“I am a businessman and a problem solver that will bring a unique, forward-thinking, and community inclusive perspective to the Klickitat County Board of Commissioners,” Christopher wrote in an email.
Walling is a lifelong resident of Klickitat County, having managed his farm near Bickleton for around 30 years. Previous experience includes a consultancy for Klickitat County for 12 years, as well as serving as Bickleton Fire commissioner and Bickleton School Board director. Walling currently serves on the Goldendale City Council.
In an interview with Columbia Gorge News, Walling said he would focus on ensuring more tax revenue would flow through the county, while investing more money into Goldendale. Specifically, he said he supports large public works projects and called for the County to provide more EDA grants to the community to spur economic development and renew infrastructure.
Running unopposed in the Aug. 4 primary are Dist. 14 Rep. Gina Mosbrucker (R-Goldendale) and Dist. 14 Sen. Curtis King (R-Yakima). Dist. 14 Rep. Chris Corry (R-Yakima) is set up for competition against White Salmon resident Tracy Rushing, who prefers the Democratic Party, and Naches resident William Razey, who listed Education Party as their preference.