Temple Lentz has been actively working to build community in Clark County since she arrived here more than 10 years ago. Originally from the Midwest, Temple quickly embraced Vancouver as her home. Part policy nerd, part community booster, Temple believes that the most effective policymakers are the ones who show up for their constituents year-round, not just when it’s election time. “If you don’t know and understand the people, businesses, nonprofits, and neighborhoods that you serve, how can you represent them effectively?”
Host and Producer of SW Washington’s live talk show, Hello Vancouver!, Temple shines a light on people, businesses, and organizations that have an impact on the local community, while also creating a space for community connection that deepens our relationships with our neighbors.
Temple also has a keen eye for public policy and communicating how that policy works in simple and effective ways. She has served on numerous boards and commissions, and took an active role as an elected Freeholder, working to write a new county charter and advocate for its passage.
As Clark County grows and changes, our government needs to grow and change. “It’s easy to see why people are moving here,” she said. “Not only is Southwest Washington one of the most beautiful places on Earth, it also has some of the best people. Living here feels like home.” Recognizing that laughing together brings people closer, Temple also jokes, “Clark County reminds me so much of where I grew up in Ohio--except that no one here has pictures of my from my teenage years (so it’s a little better).”
Temple grew up in central Ohio, in a family with two parents who worked hard to provide a good life for her and her younger brother. In a time of multiple recessions, some years were harder than others--but her parents relentlessly sacrificed and worked to ensure that their kids grew up with a good education and a strong set of values. While she was in high school, Temple worked many part time jobs to earn money for college, and in the summers she rode her bike 10 miles each way down country roads to work at a local tourist destination.
She went to college at The University of Chicago, where she majored in English Language and Literature and worked in marketing, office management, and publishing to help pay tuition. She arrived in the Northwest in 2002, and came to Vancouver in 2006 to manage a local nonprofit fundraiser. She immediately became involved in the community: volunteering with local groups, joining her neighborhood association and local business and nonprofit groups, and attending and helping plan many local events.
Throughout her neighborhood and community involvement, Temple also engaged actively in public service. She served on the City of Vancouver’s Charter Review Committee, the city’s and county’s Parks Advisory Commissions, was an elected Precinct Committee Officer for the Clark County Democratic Party, and currently serves on the Clark County Commission on Aging.
In 2013, Clark County’s government was in turmoil. Following the will of the public, the county convened a Board of Freeholders, a group charged with writing a new governing charter for the county. Temple ran for one of the elected positions on the board and won with a large percentage of the vote, in a race with 13 opponents. Serving on the board, she represented the citizens of the same district she is currently running to represent.
In 2014, the Freeholders completed the charter and sent it to the voters. Temple worked actively on that campaign, attending several public forums and speaking on behalf of the charter proposal, which made county government more accessible and accountable, distributed power more effectively, and added more representation while remaining budget neutral. The charter passed at the ballot box, and the new system of government went into effect in 2015.
Temple is a 2009 graduate of Leadership Clark County, was a recipient of the Vancouver Business Journal’s Accomplished & Under 40, has been awarded the 2017 Iris Award for women’s leadership and the 2017 Impactful Woman of the Year Award, and was a nominee for the George C. Marshall Leadership Award. She currently serves on the governing boards for Friends of the Columbia Gorge and the Hough Foundation. Past board service includes the boards of Leadership Clark County, Arts of Clark County, KXRW FM, and Rose Village Neighborhood Association.