Former state representative, county commissioner believes: ‘We deserve a senator who keeps their word and votes like a Republican’
Former Clark County Commissioner and State Representative Tom Mielke has thrown his hat in the ring for the 18th District Senate seat, currently held by Ann Rivers. Mielke officially announced his candidacy for the position as a write-in candidate for the Nov. 3 general election.
In addition to Rivers, the Republican incumbent, Democrat Rick Bell is also pursuing the seat. The two advanced from the August primary election. In his announcement Monday, Mielke didn’t hold back on his criticism of Rivers, citing that as his primary reason for seeking the position.
“As a citizen of the 18th District, I’ve watched my opponent with complete dismay,” Mielke said. “In everything from violating her promise to oppose the largest gas tax and tab fee increases in this state’s history, to selling us out on the McCleary budget and then blaming our County Assessor when most of our property taxes exploded, to leading the charge to restart the failed Columbia River Crossing (CRC) with tolls instead of a 3rd crossing, she has failed us.
“Her flip-flop on restarting the CRC that we worked so hard to stop can’t be explained,’’ Mielke added. “None of the reasons that made stopping the CRC so important then have changed. We do not want nor do we need light rail in Clark County and that is the only reason this project was started. It was a bad idea the first time they tried it and it’s now become a terrible idea that will solve none of our cross-river transportation issues. It will do nothing to improve congestion or safety, but it will cause financial hardship on many of the 70,000 plus commuters who will likely have to pay a toll twice, both in Vancouver and then again when Oregon implements their tolling program. What it will do is drain hundreds of millions of dollars from the citizens of this county and this district with essentially nothing to show for it that matters, except to the special interests my opponent now represents who will make a fortune.”
Mielke, a combat veteran of Vietnam, continued, “I also don’t believe the people of the 18th want a senator who cosponsors Democrat legislation that determines either the genders of those on corporate boards, or those who identify as genders on corporate boards. Nor do they want a Senator who tries to get the taxpayers to pick up the tab for their parking tickets.”
“I am a Republican and a Conservative,” Mielke added. “I have a history on the County Commission and in the House of Representatives. I know what the people of the 18th District want and unlike my opponent; I will both tell the truth and represent the people and not the special interests that are calling the shots with my opponent.”
When reached by Clark County Today for comment, Mielke said he would consider his candidacy a win if he was elected to the seat, or even if his presence in the race split enough of the Republican votes to make Bell the winner.
In the August primary, Bell received 38.52 percent of the votes while the two Republicans — Rivers (32.51 percent) and challenger John Ley (28.88 percent) — split more than 61 percent of the votes. Mielke wasn’t shy in saying that he is hopeful of a similar split of the voting in the general election.
“If I get 32 percent of the votes, I win,’’ Mielke projected. “If I get 20 percent of the votes, she loses. Either way, that’s a win. When we have weak Republicans in the legislature, we are going to continue in the minority because there is no difference between them and Democrats. So, if the Democrat (Bell) wins, four years from now we’ll take the seat back and have a real conservative in the position.’’
Additional information about Mielke, including issue statements, is available at WriteInTom.com.