Mielke of the East

It’s difficult to completely put work out of my mind on vacation. But at least during a recent trip through Idaho and Montana the names on political signs were unfamiliar.

And then, shortly after crossing back into Washington from Idaho last week, I was greeted by one of these signs:


I wasn’t surprised, as fellow maven Marissa had mentioned seeing the signs during a trip to Spokane earlier this summer, and I was aware of the fact that Clark County Commissioner Tom Mielke has a nephew, Todd, who is a Spokane County commissioner.

But the Todd Mielke signs do look similar to Tom Mielke’s new signs.

Here’s a Tom Mielke sign:


And here’s an old Tom Mielke sign, which he still puts up:


I asked Commissioner Tom today whether he copied his nephew’s color scheme or if it was the other way around, and he said he could not divulge such family secrets.

Todd Mielke took office in 2004 and, like his uncle, served in the state Legislature before becoming a county commissioner.

Commissioner Tom recalled when he first ran for the Legislature, and his nephew abandoned a run for office because of family issues. His nephew had already ordered signs. Mielke said he went and picked up the cardboard signs, bought lumber and stickers to change “Todd” to “Tom” and “6th District” to “18th.” His opponent filed a complaint with the Public Disclosure Commission because Mielke only reported the cost of the lumber. The PDC agreed with Mielke that his nephew’s unused signs had no value.

Asked if he gives his 48-year-old nephew advice, Mielke, 70, said he’s the one who asks for advice. But he does have a few words for the fellow Republican commish in the family: You’re too liberal!

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