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Holen Wins; Roberts, Keene, Hearn Take Council Seats

Wrap up of election results

You can drop the word "interim" from White Salmon Mayor Roger Holen's title now.

On Nov. 8, the city's voters endorsed Holen's service as mayor by choosing him to serve in the position for the next two years. Holen captured 47 percent of the vote over challengers Penny White Morris, who had 34 percent, and Douglas Charters, who carried 17 percent.

Holen now will fill out the final two years of former Mayor Linda Jones' term. Jones resigned from the mayor's office in August, and the White Salmon City Council subsequently voted 3-2 to appoint Holen to serve as mayor until the Nov. 8 election.

"I feel very good, and am looking forward to the next two years. I hope we can accomplish a lot of good things," Holen said on Monday.

Holen said he has three immediate priorities for the city.

"We need to solve the issue of water rights," Holen said. "And we need to focus on revenue enhancement for the city. We're not spending too much or spending foolishly, but we simply do not have enough revenue and our revenue stream is not keeping up with inflation. And we need to renegotiate the three-year union contract that's up on Dec. 31."

Holen also pointed to the controversy with Fire District No. 3 over the fire protection contract between the fire district and the city of White Salmon.

"I hope we can kiss and make up and come to a decision that's good for the people of the Pucker Huddle area," Holen explained.

Holen, who served as mayor for eight years before being narrowly defeated by Linda Jones in 2003, said there was satisfaction in the voting results.

"Nobody handles rejection real well," Holen said. "There is a certain vindication, but I don't want to get too cocky about it. That's not the point. We have to do a good job for the city and the people of White Salmon."

Morris, who has served for eight years on the City Council, said she was ready for a break.

"I'm happy for Roger," Morris said. "I feel good about my commitment for those eight years, and the time I've spent has been very rewarding."

Morris said she wasn't surprised by the outcome.

"With three of us running, I knew it would be a close race, and it was," she explained. "The voters said what they wanted, and I have no bad feelings about losing. It's just a race, and I gave it all I had."

Charters said he was glad he got involved in the campaign for the mayor's office.

"I think we increased the voter turnout. That was my objective, to get more people out there," Charters said. "Overall, we got more public involvement in the process of democracy. That's what it's all about, and that's how we make changes for the better."

Charters added that he believed going in to the election that Holen was likely to prevail.

"I don't want Penny's voters to think I was a spoiler," Charters explained. "My feeling is, whether I ran or not, this is what the result would have been. I wish Roger all the best in his duties. He is a good administrator."

In the battle for seats on the White Salmon City Council, challenger Timi Keene defeated incumbent Susan Gookin. Keene had 274 votes in the Position No. 4 race, while Gookin, who has served for the past four years, had 125 votes.

"I'm very pleased and thankful," Keene said. "The voters obviously recommended change in city priorities and policies. One of my top issues will be to open communication lines between City Hall and the public, and involve the public more in the process of city government."

There was an even more decisive margin in the Position No. 5 White Salmon council race. Brad Roberts had 293 votes to 104 votes for Larry Spencer to fill the seat currently held by mayoral candidate Penny White Morris.

Roberts said serving on the council was a challenge, but he was getting prepared for it.

"I'm ready to get to work," Roberts said. "I think we have some improvements to make. I'm looking forward to working with people to get things in order, and I hope the people that weren't elected stay involved."

For White Salmon City Council Position No. 3, incumbent Susan Benedict was unopposed and will serve another four-year term.

Four of the five seats on the Bingen City Council were on the ballot for this election, but only one, Position No. 2, was contested. In that battle, political newcomer Timothy Hearn topped incumbent Barbara Hylton, 31 votes to 23.

The other winners for Bingen council seats were all incumbents: Randell Anderson, Betty Barnes, and Terry Trantow all will serve another four-year term.

Bingen Mayor Brian Prigel was re-elected to serve a third four-year term. Prigel, who faced no opposition, had 41 votes. There were four write-in votes.

In other election results, incumbent Dan Rawding failed in his bid to keep his seat on the White Salmon School Board. Kris Kreps defeated Rawding, 699 votes to 409 votes.

In Fire District No. 3, one race on the fire district's board remains too close to call. The latest results showed incumbent Arthur E. House trailing challenger Bill Mason. Mason had 289 votes, while House had 269 votes for Position No. 1.

For Position No. 2 in Fire District No. 3, meanwhile, challenger Lance S. Stryker was defeated by incumbent Terry Mitchell. Mitchell had 355 votes against Stryker's 200 votes.

In a two-way race for a seat on the Glenwood School District's school board, Betsy J. Putnam topped Kate Valdez. Putnam had 58 votes to Valdez's 41 votes.

Many candidates did not face an election opponent. In those races, the winners included: R. Howard Kreps for Hospital District No. 2; Rodney Eichner, for Cemetery District No. 1; Norman L. Deo, for Port Commissioner in Port District No. 1; Wayne Vinyard, Port Commissioner, Port District No. 1; Kristie Hurn, for White Salmon School District; Tom Jellum, for Lyle School District; Tim Darland, for Lyle School District; Kathy M. Ginnett, for Lyle School District; Diane M. Paxon, for Trout Lake School District; Sundee M. Yarnell, for Trout Lake School District; Cheryl A. Mack, for Trout Lake School District; Darrel E. Spies, for Glenwood School District; and W.R. "Bob" Beveridge, for Fire District No. 8.

In Fire District No. 6, Dallesport, the name of Philip M. Mockel appeared on the ballot. However, Mockel passed away before the election was held. He suffered a heart attack while on vacation in Kamchatka, Russia, on Oct. 19.

Mockel, who had served as chair of the Klickitat County Democratic Party for about a year (2004-2005), was running unopposed for re-election to his seat on the Fire District No. 6 board. According to a spokesperson at the Klickitat County Auditor's Office, the election results are void, and the other two Fire District No. 6 Commissioners will appoint a replacement to serve on the board.

In Lyle, voters approved a special maintenance and operations levy to replace an expiring levy in the Lyle School District. That measure had the support of 375 votes (60.9 percent), with 241 (39.1 percent) voting in opposition.

In the statewide ballot measures, Klickitat County voters were generally at odds with the views of the rest of the state. For example, Initiative No. 912, a bid to repeal the motor vehicle fuel tax, was rejected statewide. In Klickitat County, however, voters supported eliminating the tax by a 61.6 percent-38.4 percent margin.

Initiative No. 330, claims for personal injury or death arising from health care services, was rejected by a large margin statewide. In Klickitat County, the opposite was true: County voters registered a 56.5 percent "Yes" vote and a 43.5 percent "No" vote.

The same was the case for Initiative No. 336, which regards medical malpractice and notices on insurance rate increases. This initiative was rejected statewide by a 60 percent to 40 percent margin, but Klickitat County voters took the opposite view: "Yes" votes totaled 2,307 (56.5 percent); while "No" votes were 1,780 (43.6 percent).

On Initiative No. 901, which amends the Clean Indoor Air Act to expand smoking prohibitions, however, the county shared the view of other state residents. This measure was overwhelmingly approved by the state's voters, and within the county, there were 2,543 "Yes" votes (59.7 percent) and 1,714 "No" votes (40.3 percent).

The overall voter turnout for Klickitat County was 37.4 percent.

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