I’ve thought long and hard about the 18th Legislative District state Senate race and have come to the conclusion that I cannot remain silent about it any longer.
If you know me, you know that I’ve never been one to shy away from important issues and those that are also controversial. During my three terms serving as an 18th District legislator in the Washington state House of Representatives, no one ever walked away from a conversation with me wondering what I really thought about any particular issue. I was always pretty darn black and white in my opinions and in my communications with constituents. I’m proud of my conservative voting record. I’m equally proud that I went to Olympia and then returned home six years later with my personal integrity intact. I wish every elected official could say this.
This leads me to my point. I cannot support any candidate, regardless of party affiliation, that lacks personal integrity. During my time at the state capitol, I experienced firsthand abject betrayal by Sen. Ann Rivers. After a short time serving alongside her and State Rep. Brandon Vick, it became apparent that Rivers cared more about leadership positions, power and influence and less about the citizens she was elected to represent. In very short order, she started voting like a Democrat and then had the audacity to rail against my conservative votes in our Republican-leaning legislative district. Nuts!
Rivers was the only local Republican who joined with Clark County Democrat legislators to vote for the biggest gas tax increase in Washington state history. Then Rivers doubled down to help craft the largest property tax hike in our state’s history. Some families in Southwest Washington are losing their homes because of her “tax and spend” voting record. Now she’s leading the charge to resurrect the corrupt Columbia River crossing and hopes to build a new multi-billion dollar boondoggle bridge that will connect to Oregon’s failing Interstate 5 corridor. And she’s going to make you pay for it with out-of-control tolling schemes!
Rivers has become the worst kind of politician there is. With complete and utter vindictiveness, she utilizes scorched earth tactics against anyone who does not fall in lockstep. Any of us who dared to disagree with her votes immediately became the target of her next smear campaign. I saw her do this to Rep. Harris, Rep. Vick and numerous other colleagues in the Washington state Senate Republican Caucus. Rivers no longer represents the values of our community. She has become a disgrace to the office she holds and no longer deserves to be elected as a representative of the people. For all of these reasons, I see no alternative but to write in Tom Mielke for state senator in my beloved 18th Legislative District.