Yvonne Gallardo-Van Ornam, left, and Clyde Shavers

Yvonne Gallardo-Van Ornam, left, and Clyde Shavers

Arlington council member to run for state rep against Shavers

Yvonne Gallardo-Van Ornam called it a “little embarrassing” to have Oak Harbor Rep. Clyde Shavers “representing veterans.”

By Jerry Cornfield / Washington State Standard

A Republican member of the Arlington City Council on Monday launched a campaign against Democratic state Rep. Clyde Shavers whose narrow victory in 2022 was one of the year’s closest and most costly legislative campaigns in Washington.

Yvonne Gallardo-Van Ornam, who won her first full council term in November, said she’ll approach legislating in Olympia as she does in Arlington by listening to what constituents want.

“As a local leader watching how Olympia continues to vote against our small business interests, public safety and taxpayers, I finally said ‘enough is enough.’ I think we can do better,” she said Monday. “I’m not OK with the status quo and will be a transparent and thoughtful voice for our community, not special interests and party bosses.”

On Monday, Shavers of Oak Harbor declined to say if he would seek re-election. He has formed a campaign committee and raised about $20,000 in this election cycle.

“Right now, I’m focused on the bills we’ve introduced,” he said. “We have a good number that address a wide range of issues.”

Shavers, a Navy veteran and Yale Law School graduate, unseated incumbent Republican state Rep. Greg Gilday by 211 votes in 2022, a result confirmed by a recount. Collectively, the two candidates and several outside groups spent roughly $1.5 million during the campaign.

It was a big win for Democrats as it helped the party flip the seat in the 10th Legislative District that encompasses all of Island and parts of Snohomish and Skagit counties.

But late in the campaign, Shavers came under fire from his father, who accused Shavers of embellishing his military service by claiming to have been a nuclear submarine officer when he wasn’t.

Days before the election, Shavers posted an apology on his campaign website.

“I would like to apologize to any supporter who felt misled by any statement I have made regarding my service record – this was never my intention,” Shavers wrote.

Gallardo-Van Ornam served nine years in the Navy as an electronics technician. When asked about what occurred in the 2022 race, she said she found Shavers’ trouble with the truth irritating.

“It’s a little embarrassing to see him out there representing veterans,” she said. “Why can’t he be proud of what he did accomplish?”

Gallardo-Van Ornam, 45, was born and raised in El Paso, Texas, and joined the Navy at age 18.

Her military service brought her to Bremerton and, in 2003, to Naval Station Everett where she met her husband. The couple, who have two children, have lived in Arlington since 2006.

Gallardo-Van Ornam, a former city planning commissioner, works for the Snohomish Conservation District as a grants and contracts lead. She is the former executive director of the Monroe Chamber of Commerce.

She was appointed to the Arlington City Council in July 2022 and elected to a four-year term in November of last year.

Washington State Standard is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Washington State Standard maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Bill Lucia for questions: info@washingtonstatestandard.com. Follow Washington State Standard on Facebook and Twitter.

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