Candidates for Washington’s Commissioner of Public Lands will gather on Monday in Olympia to make the case for why they should oversee 5.6 million acres of the state’s land and lead firefighting efforts against often-dangerous summer blazes.
The event is hosted by Washington’s League of Women Voters and sponsored in part by The Olympian. It’s at 7 p.m. at Olympia High School’s Performing Arts Center off Carlyon Avenue and moderated by journalist Austin Jenkins of the Northwest News Network.
Seven candidates are running for the office, including Dave Upthegrove, a former state lawmaker and current King County councilman, environmental attorney Hilary Franz and former Spokane mayor Mary Verner. All three are Democrats.
Two other Democrats — Seattle University professor Karen Porterfield and John Stillings — are running as well, along with former Navy officer Steve McLaughlin, a Republican, and Libertarian Steven Nielson.
Current commissioner Peter Goldmark spent eight years at the helm of the Department of Natural Resources but decided not to run for re-election this fall. The department is responsible for maintaining forests, parks and public aquatic lands. It also provides school construction money by leasing land for activities such as logging.
The League of Women Voters is hosting two other forums next week. Candidates hoping to be Washington’s lieutenant governor will say why they should be second in command to the governor in Seattle on Tuesday afternoon.
And Thursday night in Tacoma, candidates aiming to be the state’s school chief will aim to persuade voters to put them in charge of Washington’s 1 million public school students. The Tacoma forum is sponsored in part by The News Tribune, and the paper’s executive editor Karen Peterson will be the moderator.
Walker Orenstein: 360-786-1826
If you go
What: Candidate forum for Washington’s Commissioner of Public Lands.
When: 7 p.m. Monday, July 11
Where: Olympia High School Performing Arts Center, 1399 Carlyon Ave., Olympia