Commissioner candidates discuss differences at local forum

Lois Krafsky-Perry      
Citizen Review  

October 4, 2007

Sequim, WA - Approximately 200 people packed the Sequim Prairie Grange, October 3; to hear District 1 Clallam County Commissioner candidates compare and disagree on opinions and issues.

The meeting was sponsored by: League of Women Voters, American Association of University Women, Sequim Gazette, and Sequim Prairie Grange.

Challenger Bob Forde, R-Sequim and incumbent Steve Tharinger, D- Dungeness presented their ideas for the county.

“I believe in property rights and personal rights by the Constitution and by God.  They cannot be taken away or modified by men,” said Forde.  He continued by saying he believes the words of the Constitution have become way adrift of that.  “I believe all politics are local,” affirmed Forde.

Tharinger praised his own participation with different groups in which he is involved, including Salmon Recovery Board and the Dungeness River Management Team, which he chairs. He asked to be considered again for the next term and said there are problems to face in the next four years.

Forde promised, when elected that he would not run for more than two terms.  “My opponent cannot make that statement,” he said.  He continued with, “ I will also listen.”

Forde stated later that the largest problem Clallam County is Methamphetamine.

“What is the biggest missed opportunity for job growth in the county,” asked one citizen. 

Tharinger answered with his observation of shipyard skills.  There is a lack of skills and workers, according to him.  “There is no workforce with those basic skills who will work,” he said.

Forde answered, “Missed opportunity for job growth?  “Can you say, graving yard!” Forde said it would have employed many people.

An attendee also questioned the local part of the national trail.  “What is your vision for the trail?” was asked.  “Greater use of the trail will happen as funds become available,” said Forde.

Tharinger said it is a great asset from Port Townsend to LaPush.

The question was also asked, “How can we save some open land?”

“Farmland needs farmers,” answered Forde. He said he opposes the government buying land because of their vision of view. “You have the right to own your own property.  The government dictates in plenty of places.   Eastern Europe would be glad to take your free society right to own property,” declared Forde.

Tharinger answered, “Revenue from timber, revenue matched with development, lands continued as farmland,” he said.

The candidates answered other written questions, such as:  Urban Growth Areas (UGA), managing water, and county services.

When summing up their comments, Tharinger said, “I have enjoyed the last eight years as commissioner.  I think we have been a good team working for you at the county.” 
Forde said, “If you all think alike as a team, then two of you need to go home.  Open and free debate on every issue does not seem to be another point of view.  Steve takes credit from what he inherited from Martha Ireland [former commissioner] and you need a fresh approach.”

The mail in ballots will go out October 17, according to elected auditor, Patty Rosand.  Election day is November 6, 2007.



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