Clark County Councilor Tom Mielke has decided not to seek reelection at the end of his current term.
In a letter to The Reflector announcing his decision, Mielke pointed to disappointment with the current council makeup but said he is committed to finishing out his term. He accused Councilor Jeanne Stewart and newly-elected Councilor Julie Olson and Council Chair Marc Boldt of ignoring constituents and leaving him out of the decision-making process.
“I admit to the frustrations of working in a nonfunctional county government where what the people actually want … is ignored on a routine basis,” he said. “And I would be less than honest if I didn’t tell you that their intransigence and determination to ignore the people of this county in favor of the special few did not play a role in my decision.”
In his place, Mielke has endorsed Republican Eileen Quiring, who announced her candidacy for the seat the same day he announced dropping out.
“For some time now, I have been on a search to find someone who I believe will uphold the conservative principles that mark the tone and tenor of my councilor district,” he said. “I believe I have found that person in Eileen Quiring … I believe her to be an experienced lady with both legislative and governmental knowledge of Clark County, and both private and public work experience.”
Quiring is a real estate professional and former Oregon State Senator who served three years as State Chair for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). As a member of the Clark County Planning Commission, she was the only person to vote in favor of the revised version of Alternative 4. In addition to Quiring, Republican Jennifer McDaniel and Democrat Roman Battan have declared their intent to run for the seat.
County Councilor Julie Olson praised Mielke’s work on the council and as a former state legislator, but disagreed with his characterization of her and the other councilors as “intransigent” and “determined to ignore” the people.
“(Councilor Mielke) has served this community well over the years and I appreciate the work he has done,” she said. “He should be respected for that.”
“I find (those remarks) unfortunate and I’m going to respectfully disagree,” she continued. “I think every one of us on the council believes we represent our constituents. I try to represent all of the constituents of my district, not just a handful.”
Though he is leaving the Clark County Council, Mielke may not stay away from politics for long. If he doesn’t decide to stay home and tinker with his classic car collection, he might run for the 18th District Senate seat currently held by State Senator Ann Rivers.
“I’m toying with the idea,” Mielke said during an interview Friday. “It’s about fifty-fifty.”