BG city councilor announces campaign for state Senate


Battle Ground City Councilor and former Mayor Adrian Cortes announced his campaign for Washington state Senate in the 18th District last week.

Cortes is currently serving his third term in City Council and has been a Battle Ground resident for over 39 years. Cortes served as Battle Ground’s mayor from 2020 to 2021.

“Clark County isn’t Seattle or Olympia and shouldn’t be run by those with only those perspectives,” Cortes said in the press release. “I am a proud Democrat, but I’m a Battle Ground Democrat. I am committed to two things: protecting our life and getting what we deserve.”

Cortes told the Reflector that the redrawn 18th District’s legislative boundaries will move current district Sen. Ann Rivers of La Center into District 20 for future elections.

“The footprint has shrunk quite a bit,” Cortes said. “Prior to redistricting, 18th had a very large footprint that went all the way up to Woodland and encompassed almost all of north Clark County. Now it’s a smaller footprint. The only [incorporated] city it encompasses is the city of Battle Ground. It’s really an open seat, and it’s really a chance that the 18th District is going to be able to look at a new brand of leadership and how it goes forward.”

Cortes described the values of southwest Washington residents value being fiscally responsible and socially empowered, as noted in his campaign.

“When I was mayor, we valued being fiscally prudent, the value of protecting each other. We value investing in our public safety, investing in our community. We value things like understanding who we are, and rejecting policies that aren’t really meant for us but are meant for other areas,” Cortes said.

Cortes considers cutting utility taxes as one of the Battle Ground’s greatest achievements during his mayoral term. To save the city money for fire and rescue services, the City Council looked at the possibility of annexing land into Fire District 3. To alleviate an increase in property taxes, Cortes offered to cut utility taxes in the neighborhood, saving $1.5 million in cost for residents. Cortes recalled that over 80 percent of city voters supported the measure.

“That shows when you’re able to reach out to the community, get everybody’s voices [heard], and be very transparent with them, they’re willing to support measures that would increase their taxes, provided that it is something that they value and they see that you are being fiscally responsible [with] how you manage it.”

Cortes said if elected senator, his votes would reflect 18th District interests and values. Cortes said he disagrees with Seattle and Olympia’s housing policies and is concerned about their struggles with the homeless crisis.

“All they have to do is walk around the city and they can clearly see that what they’re doing isn’t working, versus when you come here to the 18th Legislative District, you have quite a different scene,” Cortes said.

Cortes said that this year’s legislative session, which concluded on March 7, made progress toward special education funding but did not do enough.

“One of the things I’d like to take a look at is how we vote on bonds for new school construction,” Cortes said. “Right now, an operating levy for school districts only requires 50 percent plus one [vote], but a bond initiative to build new schools requires 60 percent plus one [vote], and it makes it incredibly difficult, especially with a lot of voter apathy out there, to construct new schools…”

Cortes said that his goal as senator is to work tirelessly behind the scenes to meet the needs of his district.

“I know so many people in the [district] who just want to live their lives, and they want to raise their families … They want a community that is vibrant and has good family-paying jobs so they can live here,” Cortes said. “You won’t see me out front, saying bombastic statements and trying to get attention.”

Cortes received multiple endorsements for his campaign, including from Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerey-Ogle, state Sen. Annette Cleveland and state Reps. Monica Stonier and Sharon Wylie.

“I’m really grateful for all those individuals that have initially endorsed me. Since then, we’ve added a lot more to that list, and it’s continuously growing every single day,” Cortes said.

Cortes teaches special education at Camas High School and runs the district’s special education program. Cortes is also an associate professor at City University of Seattle’s Vancouver campus, where he educates aspiring teachers. Cortes said that his time spent teaching has been rewarding.

“The teaching experience is always very fulfilling, there’s always something to learn,” Cortes said. “I have my doctorate in education, however, I’m always learning something new. And the minute you’re not learning something new, then perhaps it’s time to get out of the profession. So it’s a very fulfilling profession.”