Massive public works projects for things such as solar power and electric vehicle and bicycle lanes on Highway 20 from Anacortes to Rockport are things Nick Petrish, a District 1 candidate for Skagit County Commissioner would like to see.
The Anacortes Democrat spoke out with some of the boldest ideas Wednesday night at a candidate forum in Anacortes sponsored by the League of Women Voters, the Anacortes Chamber of Commerce and the American Association of University Women. The forum was lightly attended with about 70 people at City Hall at the onset at 6:30 p.m. About half the people were still there when the county commissioner candidates had their say around 9 p.m.
Candidates spent much of their time at the podium talking about improving education and revitalizing the local and state economies. The forum will be shown on Channel 10 at 9 a.m., 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Fridays until the Nov.6 General Election.
Petrish is challenging incumbent Ron Wesen, a Bow Republican, in District 1, which covers western Skagit County including Fidalgo and Guemes islands.
He said he supported Anacortes’ request to expand its Urban Growth Area, which is linked to Tethys Enterprises plans to locate a huge beverage bottling plant inside the city limits. But Petrish said city water shouldn’t go to an outside business that would profit from it. Rather, a local co-operative could be set up to use the water.
A decision on the UGA will ultimately be made by the county commissioners. Wesen, mindful like incumbent Ken Dahlsted in the District 2 race that he was in a quasi-judicial role on the issue, said he would look at all the information.
As for Tethys and selling water, that’s up to the citizens of Anacortes to decide, Wesen said.
• Guemes Island’s Howard Pellet, Green Party candidate for the Position 2 House seat in the 40th Legislative District, hammered on incumbent Jeff Morris accepting so many campaign donations from corporations. Pellet said he has limited contributions to $100 or less from individuals.
“You won’t have to wonder who I’m representing,” he said.
Morris, an Anacortes Democrat who has served in the House for 12 years, said he has taken 10,000 recorded votes and no association has ever been made between campaign contributions and his record.
“No amount of money influences how I vote,” he said.
Asked what he’d like to accomplish in his next term if re-elected, Morris said his priorities included finding sustained funding for the state ferry system, restoring funding cuts to higher education and clean energy projects.
Pellet said he would like to create a Washington State Investment Trust that would be a repository for state funds — and cut private banks out of the picture.
• Sen. Kevin Ranker, the incumbent in the 40th Legislative District, said he did not support Initiative 1053, which requires legislative actions raising taxes to be approved by a two-thirds legislative majority.
It creates minority rule, the San Juan Island Democrat said, and it also applies to closing tax loopholes.
Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, the Democratic incumbent in the 10th District, was against the initiative as well, noting that it has been ruled unconstitutional in King County Superior Court. The Washington State Supreme Court will decide the issue.
Her challenger, Republican Barbara Bailey, said she supports the initiative, noting that voters have consistently supported the idea as a way to rein in government spending.
John Swapp, Ranker’s Republican challenger, agreed, saying people are frustrated with unbridled growth in government and are demanding control.
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