The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Brittany Allen

Johnston running on experience


Brittany Allen

SEEKING ANOTHER TERM: Rex Johnston is running for re-election.

(The Sentinel did a story on Johnston's write-in opponent, Pat Arnold, on Sept. 7.)

After nine years serving as Klickitat County Commissioner for District 1, Rex Johnston still isn't tired. This election, he is running against NPD candidate Pat Arnold, who was written in to oppose Johnston during the primary election.

According to Johnston, this year especially, it is important that the position go to someone with experience on the Board of County Commissioners and that is his main purpose in running again. That and the upcoming purpose in running again. That and the upcoming and current workload facing the board.

A major concern Johnston expressed was in regards to having a reserve fund for the county in case of economic difficulties.

"What if something happened to the landfill," Johnston proposed. "What if we lost that income? What if they found some new way to take care of garbage other than a landfill? Anything can happen. Just like our aluminum plant closed down. And if that happened and we lost that we would be in a lot of trouble, so we're constantly on the lookout to bring in new businesses trying to have new income taxing in for the county."

Something Johnston has been working on as commissioner to combat this possibility of lost 'income' is working with the board and county at large to encourage new business and, in turn, job creation in the county.

Among his accomplishments to date, Johnston sites many such efforts made by the county; Johnston is also a current member of the Mid-Columbia Economic Development Board. One such project has been to provide support to Insitu in order to ensure that they-and the 700-1,000 jobs they provide-remain in the county.

On the agenda currently are projects involving the Tract D dispute between the county and the Yakama Nation, the Shoreline Management Project, which will determine setbacks for all bodies of water in the county, plans to deal with filling some rather large shoes after the retirement of many people in key leadership positions within the county, and also a new strategic plan which is required to determine the direction of the county for the next decade.

"These projects call for an experienced commissioner with a strong history of financial knowledge and the experience to handle complex issues," Johnston said. "It takes a commissioner about four years to become educated on how the county works to be effective at the job. That being said, there's a good chance that serious mistakes could be made by a new commissioner."

Speaking of new strategic plans, since Arnold's entrance into the race, Johnston has taken to social media to spread the word about his intentions for reelection.

"Using the social media absolutely is a play for the younger generation," Johnston said of his decision to take his campaign digital. "But apparently there's a lot of older people now who are house-bound and they're doing the same thing; they're getting familiar with it so it'll actually be for both."

For more about Johnston or to ask him questions about his campaign or experience, you can find his Facebook page at klickitatcommissioner, visit his website at, or attend the Goldendale Candidates Night at the Goldendale Grange Hall on Thursday, Oct. 13 at 6 p.m. both Johnston and Arnold will be present to field questions.


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