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Vial 'ready to work in Salem' as state representative

County planning commission chair faces two GOP opponents

RICH VIALAfter 30 years of public service at the local level, A. Richard “Rich” Vial, a Republican candidate for House District 26, believes now is the right time to run for state office.

Having recently transitioned away from administrative responsibilities at the law firm he founded, Vial Fotheringham LLP, he says he’s ready to put his experience, knowledge and willingness to get things done to work in the state legislature.

Vial faces two other candidates for the Republican nomination in the May 17 primary election: John Boylston and Matt Wingard.

“Thirty years working at the local level has prepared me to work in Salem,” Vial says.

He currently chairs the Washington County Planning Commission and sits on the Clean Water Services Advisory Commission; both are positions appointed by the Washington County Board of Commissioners.

Vial is also a farmer, small business owner and real estate investor. He and his wife Paula have lived and raised their family of 13 children in the Scholls area for 30 years, where he manages Vial Family Farms. He holds a law degree from the Willamette University College of Law and earned his bachelor’s degree in business management at Brigham Young University.

HD 26 stretches from Wilsonville north to Sherwood and King City, and encompasses parts of Aloha and far southeast Hillsboro. While the territory is large, Vial says, “I feel like I’ve got a lot of good connections.”

If elected, Vial wants to work to bring land-use policy decisions and small-business regulations back to the local level.

“Land use [decision-making] is state-centric. It creates dissonance in local jurisdictions,” Vial says, and leaves local government with little ability to affect the process.

“Land use goals at the higher levels has morphed into land use control that goes too far. The local community should be deciding what they want their community to look like.”

Vial believes his land-use planning experience and leadership on the county planning commission can be put to good use in the legislature.

Like land use, Vial wants to see more local oversight in promoting job growth. Small businesses, he says, are over-regulated, which discourages entrepreneurs.

He opposes Initiative Petition 28, a proposed gross receipts tax, saying it would be “catastrophic for small businesses and job growth at the local level. We need to make sure that economic growth occurs in a way that provides opportunity,” and does not discourage small businesses.

A member of the Groner School District Board for many years (before the district consolidated with Hillsboro School District in 1996), Vial favors school choice.

“There is no single model that is best for every child. We should be providing reasonable choices in education,” he said, including allowing more charter schools.

Charter schools are sponsored by public school districts and are partially funded by the districts, but operate independently with their own boards of directors.

Additionally, Vial says, public schools are not necessarily underfunded. “I don’t think we’re using the funds we have as effectively as we could,” he says. Specifically, Vial believes public school districts are top heavy on administration. “The level of administrative oversight is more than adequate.”

Vial opposed Measures 66 and 67, which raised taxes on corporations and households with incomes above $250,000. “Measures 66 and 67, IP 28, all of these were supposed to fix it [education funding],” Vial says. “None of them did.”

Vial believes he’s the best candidate for the job. “Boylston will make a good legislator one day,” he says, but questions whether Wingard would be effective in Salem given the controversy surrounding him in 2012, when he abandoned his re-election campaign to HD26 amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

But Vial says with his connections and experience as a local leader, he can get the job done.

“My attitude is one of building relationships and looking for common ground,” Vial says. “Take time to understand the person who disagrees with your position. If you can’t work across the aisle, you can’t get anything done.”

Vial has secured the endorsements of former state senators Charles and Bruce Starr, as well as Washington County Commissioner Bob Terry, former candidate for U.S. House Rob Cornilles and former U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith, among others.

For additional information on Vial, visit richvial.org.