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Am I voting to elect a mayor or build a new bridge?

After watching the Vancouver Mayoral Debate, I couldn’t help but realize, this election is a referendum on the Columbia River Crossing. Earlier this summer, Clark County Superior Court Judge, John Nichols, ruled that a proposed light-rail initiative was invalid because it exceeded the power of the city council.

Mayor Leavitt supports the measure, while his challenger, Bill Turlay, does not. Whether you as a student support the measure or not, you should be skeptical of Mayor Leavitt and his challenger Bill Turlay for several reasons.

First of all, Leavitt ran on a platform of no tolls, using that to unseat long seated incumbent Royce Pollard in 2009. A couple months after he was elected, Leavitt said that it’s not possible to not have tolls on the project. That’s the epitome of a bait and switch. Whether you think Mayor Leavitt is right or not, when you run on a platform, the people who voted for you expect you to pursue your platform. Not only is that dishonest, it makes one wonder if he opposed tolls just to get elected. There’s also speculation that Leavitt will run for Congress in 2014. In 2011, he tweeted, “Leavitt for Congress?” However, he later declared he had changed his mind. Is electing someone who possibly could be gone midway through his second term the best path forward for the city?

There’s also reason for students to be skeptical of his challenger Bill Turlay. When Turlay filed to run earlier this year, he declared that he was running because no one else had stepped up so he could put a campaign together. While Mr. Turlay’s passion for his city was extremely evident during the debate in October, that’s not exactly something you want to hear from your candidate.

Another reason to believe this election is a referendum on the Columbia River Crossing is that besides this contentious topic, the candidates generally agreed on almost everything else. While there isn’t any contentious issues surrounding WSU Vancouver that came up, students should strive to find each candidate’s thoughts on our school given they have yet to be mentioned.

Whatever your opinions are on the race, it’s imperative that anyone who lives in Vancouver that attends WSU Vancouver votes. In any election, no matter how big or small, it’s important for your voice to be heard. The race features two candidates that are obviously passionate about the city, but it’s hard to judge what their true intentions are.

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