Senator Van de Wege running for DNR Chief

State Senator Kevin Van de Wege has announced his candidacy to run for the Commissioner of Public Lands in the Department of Natural Resources. Hilary Franz, who is the current head, is running for governor. She’ll be stepping down from that role.

I was part of the People For Puget Sound team that is mentioned in the article that awarded Kevin the Environmentalist of the Year for Puget Sound. He deserved it for shepherding the Rescue Tug at Neah Bay to pass, an issue that took over 10 years to get funded.

As to heading DNR, I think that Kevin will instantly get the respect of the firefighters, but likely will not be the voice of carbon capture that Ms. Franz has been. However, Ms. Franz has elicited a lot of controversy from the environmental community on the Peninsula over that issue among others and will not be missed. It will be interesting to see who supports her from this area over the AG, Bob Ferguson. Certainly, this blog has already stated that we support Ferguson, as Ms. Franz has on numerous occasions pleaded ignorance of controversial issues that she herself has signed off on.

Van de Wege on shown himself willing to listen to opposing sides to his opinions and has made course corrections in the past, most notably on the fire retardants issue that has been before the legislature over the last decade. He originally was opposed to banning the chemicals but after being shown the international studies and understanding he wasn’t being asked to go out on a limb alone on this, he reversed course and championed the issue. For those reasons we support his effort and endorse him for the upcoming election.

There is a lot of rumor going around about who will run for Kevin’s office and other possible changes to the makeup of the Democratic representation here on the Peninsula. More to follow as we get solid stories to share.

District 24 senator eyes state lands role | Peninsula Daily News

ELECTION 2012 – Some environmental wins, some losses

A “reasonable” turnout of 42% of the Jefferson County voters give us a probable look at how the county might vote in November.

With the primary now over, we can evaluate the winners and their relationships with environmental issues. From the “bottom” up to the “top”.

Locally to Jefferson County:

County Commissioners: David Sullivan and Phil Johnson easily advanced. Both have been strong supporters of environmental issues locally.

State Representative 24th- Kevin Van De Wege ran unopposed, and Steve Tharinger has advanced. Tharinger has raised the hackles of local environmental supporters over his unwavering support of the controversial biomass conversion proposals, and some have wished for an alternative democratic candidate to support in this race. It will be interesting to see whether a larger voter turnout in November will bring his opponent any closer to winning. However, to be sure, his opponent is likely to be worse on environmental issues.

State Senator, District 24 – Long time State Senator Jim Hargrove advanced easily. Jim has supported environmental proposals in the past.

State Commissioner of Public Lands: Peter Goldmark, a strong supporter of environmental initiatives in a very difficult role to satisfy everyone, advanced handily.

State Attorney General: Bob Ferguson supported by the environmental coalition, did advance.

State Auditor: Pridemore possible loss Craig Pridemore is a State Senator, and former Washington Conservation Voter (WCV) Legislator of the Year, who understands that the State Auditor has an important role to play in protecting and enforcing I-937, the voter-approved Clean Energy Initiative. He was in second place but latest numbers show him slipping into third. More to come on this.

Governor: Jay Inslee easily advanced along with Rob McKenna. Jay has a long record of supporting environmental legislation, and more importantly, opposing anti-environmental legislation.

State Supreme Court – The loss of Bruce Hilyer in Position 9 is the one dark cloud on the horizon for environmental legislation. Both McCloud and Saunders are strongly in favor of property rights over the notion of local, state and national environmental regulation. However, the advancing of Susan Owens and Steven Gonzales holds out the hope that whichever of the two candidates wins, will be a minority opinion voice.

U.S. House: Derek Kilmer easily advanced. Surprise here was how wide the margin was. At the State level, he has voted consistently for environmental bills, such as banning mining on Maury Island, conversion of coal fired electric plants, reducing greenhouse emissions, banning PBDE’s which were getting into the Sound, and setting minimum renewable fuel requirements.

Maria Cantwell easily advanced. Cantwell received the highest rating possible from the League of Conservation Voters for her environmental voting record.

Sorry to see my old friend Greg Rankich go down to defeat in his first campaign over in the legislative district 1. Greg is part of a wide range of ex-Microsoft people who are continuing to get into politics after leaving MSFT. He would have brought an unconventional and likely fresh point of view to Olympia. I did not follow his campaign as it’s not ‘here’ but I wish him the best going forward.

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