Roman Battan, 31, has filed for the office of Clark County commissioner from District 2.
Democrat Battan said he decided to run to introduce efficiency into government and to engage citizens in the decision-making process.
“There is a disconnect between what government does and people’s perception of what the government does,” said Battan.
If elected, Battan says he would spend time in cities outside Vancouver, meeting people in coffee shops and conducting town hall meetings, to stay connected to citizens. He said the commissioners meet weekly in downtown Vancouver during the daytime.
“People must take time off work to attend those meetings; seniors sometimes can’t get there,” said Battan, who wants to be connected to the public. “That’s something I’m committed to doing.”
Battan said the county’s mission statement needs to be better focused. He questioned why the county owns a golf course and recently considered building a biomass plant.
Battan said he will focus on the need for jobs during the campaign.
“The glaring issue is jobs,” said Battan, who said county officials should recruit businesses to come to the county by selling quality of life and the proximity of ocean and mountains.
Battan noted the work being done in this regard by the Columbia River Economic Development Council.
“They need county support,” said Battan.
In other issues, Battan said:
• The proposed replacement bridge over the Columbia River should be constructed as soon as possible. “We need to get the bridge moving,” he said. “The decision on light rail is already done.” Funding for the operation of light rail can be found in the existing county budget, he said. “We need to prioritize the budget; there is some waste in the budget.” If a new tax is needed for light rail, Battan supports a countywide vote.
• Battan said he agrees with the proposed new rules regarding agriculture and agricultural markets. He stressed the need for fresh, local produce as an aid to good health. “There is a bit of distrust between those in agriculture and the county,” said Battan. “That is something we really need to take a look at. We have a unique opportunity right now to ease up on regulations on farmers.”
• Battan declined to comment on the county’s current lawsuit to stop the proposed Cowlitz tribal casino, stating that the current commissioners must deal with that issue.
• Battan said this is a good time to update the rural elements of the county’s comprehensive plan. “We need to look at the way we are using our land,” he said. “We need to look at agriculture as a viable economic engine. We need to look at the way we are taxing these folks.”
• Battan said the health department has “done a good job” of studying health issues. He said the county has a 66 percent obesity rate.
Battan was born and raised in Camas, where he still lives. He graduated from Camas High School and earned a business degree from Washington State University Vancouver.
Battan said he worked at a bank for six years, then was sales director for a software company in Camas. He now does marketing and media work for a company in the pulp and paper industry.
Battan is single “but I have a girlfriend.” He has no previous political experience.
Battan said he plans to run a lean campaign through the primary, walking and knocking on doors. The campaign through the general election could cost about $40,000, he said.
Battan may be reached at (360) 513-9490.
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