Know your issues, voters

Two days remain until the state’s primary election. Following are recaps of the issues voters in Thurston County will decide.


Three candidates seek the Olympia City Council Position 4 seat being vacated by Councilwoman Karen Messmer. They are:

 • Karen Rogers, 36, a state Liquor Control Board policy specialist, Thurston County planning commissioner and Olympia Utility Advisory Committee member.

 • Amy Tousley, 48, a municipal manager for Puget Sound Energy, Olympia planning commissioner and Utility Advisory Committee member.

 • Karen Veldheer, 37, the owner of Reworks Homes and kvmall.net, a green e-commerce site.

Two people are challenging the incumbent for the Olympia City Council Position 5 seat. The three candidates are:

 • Stephen Buxbaum, 54, an Evergreen State College faculty member and private consultant.

 • Janine Gates, 44, a photographer and caregiver for the elderly.

 • Jeff Kingsbury, 48, a City Council member for five years and the artistic director of Capital Playhouse.

Council seats pay $16,640 per year.


A Republican and two Democrats vie for two spots on the November ballot in the Thurston County Commissioner District 3 race. They are:

 • Republican Pat Beehler, 64, the director of surveying for WHPacific, an Olympia-based consulting firm. This is the first run for political office for Beehler, who is active in South Sound civic affairs and backed by the Olympia Master Builders.

 • Democrat Karen Valenzuela, 59, a former Tumwater City Council member appointed to the vacant commissioner seat in January by Gov. Chris Gregoire. She has backing from the environmental community.

 • Democrat Dan Venable, 57, the owner of Advance Environmental Inc., an environmental cleanup firm. Venable is a 1970 graduate of Tumwater High School, served in the Air Force and Army National Guard and has no public-office experience.

The post pays $105,276 per year and will be up for election again in 2010 for a four-year term.


A Republican and two Democrats are in the hunt for the Port of Olympia District 3 commission seat. All of them are running for an elected position for the first time. They are:

 • Republican Will Stakelin, 42, the government affairs director for the Olympia Master Builders. A Rochester resident, Stakelin raised more than $12,000 for his campaign, according to state Public Disclosure Commission data.

 • Democrat Jeff Davis, 41, is a 13-year longshoreman who works at the Port of Longview and also is a member of the International Longshoreman’s and Warehouseman’s Union, Local 21. An Olympia resident, Davis raised nearly $14,000, according to PDC data.

 • Democrat Dave Peeler, 58, is a self-employed environmental consultant who also recently retired from the Department of Ecology after a 33-year career at the state agency.

Peeler, an Olympia resident, raised more than $6,300, PDC data show.

The two top candidates will advance to the November general election. Whoever is elected will replace Paul Telford, who will retire from the commission at the end of the year.


Voters in several fire districts will vote on whether to consolidate and form the county’s first two regional fire authorities.

One proposal would combine the Littlerock and Grand Mound-Rochester fire districts into the West Thurston Regional Fire Authority. The other would create the Southeast Thurston Fire and EMS Regional Fire Authority, serving Yelm, Rainier and the surrounding area.

The authorities would allow districts and departments that share a common border to form a single taxing district. The tax rate for property owners in both districts won’t rise if the measures pass.