Matt Little

Barely two months after Clark County District 4 Councilor Gary Medvigy won an election to retain his seat, a challenger has announced his candidacy for the position.

It will be the second of two elections in two years for the position this November.

Fern Prairie resident Matt Little announced Jan. 8 he is seeking the District 4 seat as an independent candidate, an opponent to the Republican Medvigy. Both in a press release from his campaign and an interview with The Reflector, Little stressed a desire to maintain rural character in Clark County, noting extensive experience in organizations that seek to preserve natural environments.

Little said he enjoys hunting and fishing, which was one of the reasons he moved from Washington, D.C., to the Pacific Northwest 17 years ago. He’s lived in Clark County for three years, though he started working there in 2014 as executive director of the Cascade Forest Conservancy, a nonprofit that works on land management issues generally at the federal level.

Little also noted he currently serves as Southwest Washington representative on the Backcountry Hunters and Anglers Washington chapter board of directors and is part of the South Gifford Pinchot Collaborative.

During his D.C. days Little said he worked for federal land management agencies as well as on the staff of the Northeast-Midwest Institute, a nonpartisan group focused on economic and environmental policy. He said working there gave him a nonpartisan perspective, something he wished to signal by running as an independent.

“I’m an independent, unbiased voice who can represent everyone on a council that right now, frankly, seems to be run by real estate agents and developers where the public has little say,” Little said. 

He offered a solution he says will work in favor of the public concerned about losing rural character, explaining that the county could create partnerships with municipalities on determining urban growth areas and setting map overlays that designate rural areas to protect them from unwanted development. Parcels in the overlay would generate credit that landowners could sell to developers in urban growth boundaries, getting compensation for preserving the land’s character.

Little’s release stated the process has been adopted by more than 30 states, including Washington.

“It’s not like it’s never been tried before. It just takes some political will,” Little said in an interview.

Little also touts fiscal conservatism as one of his winning qualities, saying working with governmental agencies during his career had him seeing a number of inefficiencies in how they were run, though there wasn’t something specific he saw happening in Clark County that pushed him to pursue office.

Little said he’d be honored to represent District 4, stressing that his approach would be about the public’s desires, not partisanship.

“I may be fiscally conservative, but I want to hear all perspectives and I’m really excited about making Clark County a better place to live and work,” Little said.

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