Holt talked with Reporter Chris Brown about taxes, transportation, and why he thinks the council needs a fresh face in charge of things
CLARK COUNTY — The race to become the next chair of the Clark County Council is likely to be a close one. Incumbent Marc Boldt finished third in the August primary, meaning that he is not on the ballot for the November general election.
Instead, voters will get to choose between Eileen Quiring, a strongly conservative Republican who has represented the county’s 4th District since 2016, and Eric Holt, a relative political newcomer who most recently lost a bid against Sen. Ann Rivers for the state’s 18th Legislative District. Holt also served as a delegate for U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders in his presidential election bid.
Holt has lived in Clark County since 2010, after spending much of his life in Utah. In his 20’s, while in college, Holt says he expected to be a musician. He also had roommates who were tattoo artists, which led to the numerous inkings on his hands, neck, and even face. On his knuckles are the words “lock” and “load,’’ a reference to the movie Top Gun. On his neck is a tattoo that reads “Til Death,” which matches one his wife has. On the other side is the word “dreamer,” her nickname for him.
Holt says he never imagined his life would go in the direction it did. He sought a transfer to Clark County after visiting the area in 2010, and moved here with his family a few months later.
Holt worked as a professional trucker until 2013, when he decided to go back to school to get a degree in business administration. He now works as a safety and operations manager at a Portland-based mining company, experience Holt says will serve him well as the county’s top elected official.
Despite being a self-proclaimed liberal, Holt maintains that he would prefer not to raise taxes or fees if possible. He’s hopeful that a new Interstate 5 Bridge can include both added vehicle capacity, and room for mass transit. And he hopes to see Clark County become a place where high wage jobs can be found, making it less necessary for over 70,000 residents, including himself, to go across the river to find work every day.
Still, Holt calls it “irresponsible” for the county to have passed on taking the state allowed one percent property tax increase for several years, saying that the county needs to be able to fund required services, which have also increased in cost.
Holt has come out strongly against the current idea of allowing Freight Rail Dependent development along part of the Chelatchie Prairie rail line, which the county owns. His argument is that industrial jobs, especially those dependent on freight rail, represent the economy of the past, and that the jobs it would bring largely don’t provide a living wage. He would, instead, push for agritourism along the line, using the rail to implement train tours, and encouraging restaurants, vineyards, and small hotels along the line.
Holt was front and center during the recent teacher strikes, advocating strong support for higher wages for educators.
You can visit Holt’s campaign website here: http://erickholt.com/