Two file to challenge Heimuller
At least three candidates will vie for a Columbia County commissioner seat this May.
Current Commissioner Henry Heimuller has filed to run for re-election. So far, he faces challengers Paulette Lichatowich and Kimberly Johns.
Heimuller was first elected to the Columbia County Board of commissioners in 2010. He was re-elected in 2014.
The incumbent will face dynamic challengers.
Lichatowich, who lives in Columbia City, currently serves as a Port of St. Helens commissioner and longtime Columbia County planning commissioner. She and her husband also own and run a fisheries research business.
Aside from her elected and appointed positions, she's been civically engaged in local politics for years.
"I think there's a lot of changes coming to economic development in Columbia County," Lichatowich said Wednesday. "There needs to be changes coming to the government and I'd like to be part of that. I want to make sure there's transparency and job growth."
Johns is a St. Helens business owner and former Columbia County Sheriff's Office reserve deputy. He's been appointed to the U.S. Department of Commerce and has worked closely with U.S. military and defense agencies.
He was profiled in the Spotlight newspaper on Jan. 19 for being a longtime Sheriff's Office volunteer despite having a felony conviction on his record from 1985 for a weapons charge.
Johns, of Warren, owns USIA — a dive suit manufacturer and tactical equipment supplier to many military and government operations.
A statement on Johns' campaign page reads, "it's time to bring common sense back to County Government. Our County Commission takes your tax dollars and decides how to spend them for you. But do they make the best use of those tax dollars? If many of the County Departments were managed and operated as a business instead of Government bureaucracies, our tax dollars would go farther."
Heimuller, a Scappoose High School graduate who was raised in a farming family, lives in St. Helens. He previously worked as a paramedic and a transit coordinator before entering local politics.
As of Thursday, Feb. 1, Heimuller, Johns and Lichatowich were the only candidates to file for the county commissioner position. Candidates have until March 6 to file if they wish to run for office in the May primary election.