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Brian Brust, a Rainier resident, is the second candidate to file for the seat now held by Henry Heimuller.

COURTESY PHOTO: BRIAN BRUST - Brian BrustA second candidate has filed to enter the race for Columbia County commissioner, Position 2, on the May ballot.

Brian Brust, a Rainier resident, is seeking the seat currently held by Henry Heimuller.

Brust said he believes the county needs to do more to keep citizens updated on what's going on.

For instance, he said, there's been inadequate communication around the voter-approved ballot measures from 2018 and 2020 that prohibited the county from enforcing most laws regulating firearms. The county filed an appeal last year to seek a legal review of whether or not the SASO and SAPO are enforceable.

"There's initiatives that were passed and ordinances that weren't applied properly that people are unaware of," Brust said.

Brust said he agreed with the current county commissioners' recent approval of permits for NEXT Renewable Fuels' planned biofuel facility, but thought the county could do more to spread awareness about the project.

The current county commissioners "are doing what's required of them" when it comes to communicating with the public, Brust said.

"But I want to do more than what is just required," Brust said.

Brust hasn't had any prior elected or appointed experience in local government.

"I'm coming in this with a fresh set of eyes and perspective," he said.

Brust is a drywall finisher. He grew up in Scappoose, spent four years in the Marine Corps, lived in St. Helens for roughly 20 years, and then moved to Rainier less than two years ago, he said.

Brust said his time outside of work has been focused on raising three children with his wife.

Running for office "is not something I ever thought I would do personally, but I just see a need for it today," he said.

Brust is one of four candidates to file for the office as of Feb. 17, with two and a half weeks before the filing deadline. Kellie Smith, a St. Helens School District board member and local business owner, was the first to start a run for the county office, having announced back in December.

In the 2020 primary, when the other two seats on the county's board of commissioners were up for election, three candidates ran for one seat and four candidates ran for the other.


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