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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