Vancouver resident served 20 years in the Washington State Senate and was also a presidential appointee during the Trump administration
Former Washington state senator and presidential appointee Don Benton recently announced his intention to seek election to the Clark County Council. Benton will campaign to fill the District 5 seat on the council. Eileen Quiring O’Brien vacated the seat earlier this year and on Friday Gov. Jay Inslee appointed Dick Rylander to fill the seat for the remainder of the term.
Benton, a Vancouver resident who represented North and East Clark County for 20 years in the State Senate has come out of retirement in part to stop rising property taxes and rampant crime in North County.
“When I returned home from my public service in Washington DC, I was shocked to see how high the property taxes and crime rates have climbed in four short years,” Benton said. “I feel like I have to do something.”
Benton and his family have been residents of Clark County for over 35 years.
“Active for many years in Boy Scouts and the American Red Cross, he is well known to citizens and neighbors as a straightforward, common-sense representative of the people who is not afraid to speak up and expose corruption,’’ read a statement about his candidacy. “He recently won his corruption suit against the county in a jury trial for the illegal, personal vendetta firing of long-time county employees.’’
Benton has also been an entrepreneur who has started and operated several companies while serving as a part-time citizen legislator. (The legislature is not full time in Washington.) After selling his main business in 2013, county commissioners asked Benton to come to work at the county to help solve the bankruptcy and Federal lawsuit issues at the Department of Environmental Services.
“He agreed to turn things around and did so while saving taxpayers millions of dollars in the process, stopped the pre-planned increase in the homeowner’s clean water fees and solved the bankruptcy in the department without a single layoff,’’ read Benson’s statement.
Benton made his intentions to seek election to county office public at a Patriots United Educational meeting in Washougal in March. Introduced to the crowd of nearly 400 as a guest in the audience, Benton received a round of applause and a warm welcome home from his service to the nation in Washington DC. Speaking after the meeting about the facts the group had presented, Benton said “The work they have done to expose the wide-spread voter fraud in Clark County is remarkable. Independents, Democrats and Republicans alike all want their election process to be honest, transparent and trustworthy.”
Election integrity is one of the main tenets of the group that has recently formed. Benton attended to learn more about it.
The retired senator said when he discovered his home was in the new County District 5 on all three of the redistricting maps and the one approved by voters last November, he knew he had to step forward and offer to give North Clark County an experienced voice on the County Council. He said he “Was honored to have the opportunity to serve his neighbors again and bring back common-sense government to Clark County.”
Benton can be reached via his website: www.Bentonforcouncil.com where “citizens can sign up to get a voice in your government,” Benton said.
Benton has outlined five primary community concerns he will focus on if elected: property rights, property taxes, crime enforcement and prosecution, rural economic development and homelessness.
While Benton represented the 17th District in the Senate for 20 years he passed into law over 50 bills signed by four Democrat governors demonstrating his ability to achieve results regardless of party. Known for being tough on crime, Benton once called the Chelsea Harrison bill “one of our greatest achievements.” The bill closed the loophole in Washington’s so called three strikes you’re out law that preceded the murder of 14-year-old Chelsea in Vancouver.
Benton was recognized on two separate occasions with the honor of Statewide Legislator of the Year by the Washington Association of Police and Sheriff’s (WACOPS). In addition to rising to the leadership post of deputy majority leader, he was one of the architects of the bipartisan Majority Coalition Caucus that governed the Senate in Olympia using an innovative power sharing model.
“Perhaps that experience can be used on the new non-partisan council to solve the serious issues facing our community,’’ read Benton’s campaign announcement. “In any event, Benton can be trusted to watch out for his neighbors, the taxpayers, because he always has.’’