Washougal council's right turn excites Shoemaker

Anything else going on in Washougal, I asked councilman Dave Shoemaker at the end of an interview Tuesday evening. It’s a catch-all question that usually leads nowhere.

Shoemaker offered more than the status quo.

The council’s balance had been restored, he answered. I prodded him for more specifics.

“The conservatives set out to change the balance on the council and we did it,” Shoemaker replied proudly, referring to he and Jon Russell.

Two Russell-backed candidates, Connie Jo Freeman and Caryn Plinski, defeated council veterans Molly Coston and Rod Morris, respectively, in the November elections.

Washougal Mayor Sean Guard opposed Freeman and Plinski. Guard did not return a phone call Wednesday.

Many elected officials in non-partisan offices shy away from labeling themselves Republican or Democrat. Not Shoemaker. He takes pleasure in his “fiscal conservative” label.

What can Washougal residents expect from the fiscal conservatives holding the council majority, I asked Shoemaker.

He predicted they would resist any projects that required dipping into the city’s reserve money, such as sidewalk projects. City sidewalk improvements were paid for using money from its unreserved general fund, Mayor Pro-Tem Jennifer McDaniel said, noting that was different than reserve money.

Shoemaker rejected suggestions the quartet represented a voting bloc. They shared core beliefs but would make decisions individually, he said.

Though he supported her reelection bid, Shoemaker did not mention McDaniel when speaking about the council’s shift to the right.

McDaniel described herself as fiscally conservative but independent when asked how she fit into the current council. Above all else, she said she served Washougal residents.

“I have 14,000 bosses,” she said, referring to a rough estimate of the city’s population.

PS: For more on how Washougal officials aligned themselves this past election season I encourage you to read this story.

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