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By Brittany Allen

Arnold enters race late


Brittany Allen

LATE MOVE: Pat Arnold is entering the race for Klickitat County commissioner as a write-in.

For most candidates, the next few months are considered the "home stretch," yet for write-in candidate Pat Arnold, this is only the beginning.

As of Tuesday, Aug. 16, the primary election was certified, and Commissioner Rex Johnston gained an opponent for his District 1 position. Arnold herself did not actually know of her candidacy until she received a call from Auditor Brenda Sorenson.

There are two ways to become a write-in candidate. One is to declare a party and pay a filing fee; Arnold ran for commissioner in this way back in 2004, declaring and running as a democrat. This time, her nomination came about rather differently. In order to otherwise qualify to be on the general election ballot as a write-in, one must receive one percent of the vote, which Arnold did after several people eager for change wrote her name on their primary ballots.

It is not required when one is written in to an election for that person to campaign; if they do not want to run their name is left on the ballot, but they do not have to make any efforts to be elected. Arnold has chosen to take this opportunity and run with it.

Because she was written in and did not declare on her own, Arnold is not allowed to run with a party affiliation, she is therefore in the voter's guide as no party declares (NPD). As for how this will affect her campaign, Arnold does not believe her lack of label will hurt her chances.

"I think both of the major parties are struggling with divisions in their ranks around their candidates," Arnold said. "I think it's probably a plus at this point to be running without a party label, because those labels have gotten kind of muddled for one thing, and I also think a lot of people are really uncomfortable with them."

Though Arnold has run in the past and has remained heavily interested in local government, her commitment to full-time employment as of late has kept her from running since her narrow loss to Don Struck in 2004.

"Running has not been an option the last couple of cycles," Arnold said. "It's been on my mind, because I have a history of activism and participation around Klickitat County. I have a strong interest in good government, and responsive government, and well-run government, and so it's been in the back of my mind for a quite a few years and the opportunity came up with this write-in, which was very surprising to me."

Now that Arnold is retired, she sees now as her time for this political endeavor.

"I actually think this is a very good year to be running," Arnold said in an interview. "There has been a very high level of political activity in the county, focusing on the presidential caucuses, and it's drawn people in; it's raised awareness."

Arnold cited the popularity of primary candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders as proof of the county's readiness for change, saying "one of his messages is: local elections matter." She is hoping with this stir in interest in the county her campaign will generate change.

Monday, August 29 a group of Arnold supporters gathered at the White Salmon Library for the campaign's first organizational meeting.

In her opening remarks, Arnold stated that she was "not inclined" to talk about her opponent; she wanted to focus on the issues that inspired her to run again.

"I want it not to be about evil-doing and name-calling," Arnold said. "I want it to be about positive things we can do for the county."

Some of these "positive things" Arnold has included in her platform are: "diversifying the economy, keeping housing affordable, protecting natural resources, and strengthening safety planning for coal and oil trains in the county."

She also sees importance in the county planning for the accommodation of growth.

"If we don't plan for it-in terms of distribution of residential development, distribution of commercial and retail business development [...]-it's going to happen piecemeal and that's not going to be a good thing," Arnold said. "I'd make plans for my financial future, the county makes plans for roads, we all make plans for goals we want to reach, the county has capital improvement plans, we should have the kind of comprehensive land use planning that will lead towards a good future for everybody."

Arnold has resided in Klickitat County for 26 years and she feels the county has a unique sense of community.

"One of the wonderful things about Klickitat County is that the person that you disagree with on a political issue or some kind of civic public issue may be person who sits next to you in church, or may be the person who comes to your house when you're ill and you need an EMT, or you may be the EMT going to the house of somebody that is not seeing eye-to-eye with you on some of the more public issues and stuff," Arnold said. "But we see each other at the stores, we bump into each other at the post office, we show up at the fair together, you may be working on some civic project or a school thing with people, and so we understand that we're not stereotypes in this county to each other; we know each other as people."

She hopes this openness and acceptance can transfer into how people act throughout the election process.

"I think it's our opportunity here to conduct ourselves with respect for each other and with the realization that we don't have to agree on everything, but we can work together and we can live as a community," Arnold said. "That is the way I'd like to see this campaign going, where we talk about what's good for us as a community and understand that we owe each other respect, and consideration of point of view and willingness to try to chart a course that's going to move us towards the future together."

Arnold will be visiting different parts of the county fairly regularly in order to talk to voters. In the near future, she will be attending the Dallesport Community Council meeting on Thursday, Sept. 8 at 7 p.m., visiting with the Goldendale Kiwanis on Wednesday, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m., and speaking at the Goldendale Grange on Thursday, Oct. 6 from 6 to 8:30 p.m.


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