4 vying for PUD seats

Candidates answer questions, including on climate change
By Brandon Gustafson | Oct 31, 2018
Sid Logan

Ballots and voters’ pamphlets have been mailed, and the Nov. 6 general election is nearly approaching.

There are four candidates for two open positions for a commissioner seat with the Snohomish County Public Utilities District, a public utility providing power to nearly 350,000 customers in Snohomish County and on Camano Island,.

Beacon Publishing sent a questionnaire regarding issues for the four candidates.

The questions: Why should voters vote for you? What in your background makes you qualified for the job? And, How can the PUD help in the lessening the effects of climate change?

Each candidate was given 300 words to answer each question, as well as offer additional comments.

 

PUD District 1 | Commissioner District 1 | 2-year unexpired term

 

In a close primary, incumbent Sid Logan received 31 percent of the votes, while challenger Mary Rollins received 30 percent.

Incumbent Sidney (Sid) Logan, an Arlington resident, was appointed Snohomish County PUD commissioner in March 2017 – from among 25 applicants – to complete the final two years of a six-year term. Commissioner Dave Aldrich had resigned due to his health, and died in January 2017.

Logan is a delegate of the American Power Association and member of the Public Power Council. He has a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.

Rollins is chair of the 38th Legislative District Democrats. She has a master’s in policy from the University of Washington. She is a former catering company and coffee shop owner, and is a social services provider.

 

Sid Logan

Why should voters vote for you?

Experience matters. I was appointed in March 2017 from among 25 interviewed applicants after a commissioner passed away. In the past 18 months, I have taken every opportunity to come up to speed on our utility, the regional issues and the challenges and opportunities facing the electric utility industry.

 

What in your background makes you qualified for the job?

I meet with local, state and federal leaders to ensure that they understand the issues that impact the ratepayers of Snohomish County and Camano Island.

Families matter: I am a strong advocate for our financial assistance programs for low-income seniors and struggling families. I encourage you to join my wife and me by donating to the PUD’s Project Pride program to provide further assistance for families in need.

 

How can the PUD help in the lessening the effects of climate change?

Our environmental legacy matters: The PUD’s investments in clean energy have resulted in power that is 98 percent carbon-free. I work to ensure we have the infrastructure ready to promote and support electric vehicles, buses, hybrid ferries and other electrification and conservation measures that results in reduced reliance on fossil fuels.

I promote investments in renewable energy, including the PUD’s community solar project planned for Arlington.

 

Additional comments

Leadership matters: As a commissioner, I make it my mission to challenge the status quo to ensure your dollars are spent wisely so that reliable power and water are provided for the lowest cost possible, and to ensure our utility is prepared for an exciting future of electric vehicles, battery walls and green energy.

I am the most qualified candidate for the PUD District 1 seat because of my experience, vision, and my passion for this work.

 

Mary Rollins

 

Why should voters vote for you?

I am running for PUD Commissioner 1 because the PUD needs real reform. The voters should know that I have spent my life and career fighting for the less fortunate. I have managed soup kitchens, spoken out on behalf of domestic violence victims and the environment.

I have spent the past year helping people with disabilities pay their PUD bills. The PUD does not go far enough in helping our neighbors with alternatives to keep the power on.

 

What in your background makes you qualified for the job?

I have a master’s of policy degree, which allows me an understanding of complicated issues. Our energy portfolio for the PUD is a web of deals being made on multiple levels. It also means that there is a great potential for misappropriations.

It is easy to bait and switch if the line keeps moving. This is what I I think happened to the last board in place. Promises were made and millions were wasted. Meanwhile, our neighbors have their power shut off for owing a few hundred dollars.

 

How can the PUD help in the lessening the effects of climate change?

The PUD has a real stake in battling the effects of climate change. For one, we need to bring back the ability of our ratepayers to install solar. Those who did in good faith have had the rug pulled out from under them. This is untenable.

We need to pay for the energy that has been generated, and in a timely way to help with homeowner taxes. This is the deal that was made and that compact must be kept if the PUD is to have any credibility. And finally, we need to go to 100 percent renewable.

We need to work toward that goal. We can be the people we are waiting for. Political will can become policy.

 

PUD District 1 | Commissioner District 2 | 6-year term

 

Rebecca Wolfe and David Chan both defeated newcomers Maggie Mae and Kaili Chickering in the August primary, as well as incumbent commissioner President Kathy Vaughn, who began her first term in 1995 and was last re-elected to the commission in November 2012 for her fourth term.

Wolfe received 30.83 percent of the vote, while Chan received 28.16 percent, Vaughn 27.75 percent, Mae 8.61 percent and Chickering 3.98 percent.

 

Rebecca Wolfe

 

Why should voters vote for you?

I will ensure serious oversight and accountability over a utility district that has made many avoidable, costly, unethical decisions on projects. Policies drive projects that should drive the budget – not the reverse.

I get this and will make sure that we practice this on the board. Soon, SnoPUD will begin the 2019 budgeting process. The Integrated Resource Plan should drive the budget. I am transitioning from a meaningful career in education to a different area of public service: working with citizens, legislators, scientists and others to rescue and restore an area of our planet that is worth protecting for future generations.

I want to work for more affordable energy rates and more special programs for those in financial distress.

The status quo is no longer acceptable.

 

What in your background makes you qualified for the job?

My longstanding concerns for honest governance and my extensive education: PhD in organizational leadership and a master's in environmental law and policy (2016) have prepared me well for this position.

I have served in three administrative positions in education and on boards of directors, scrutinizing budgets and supporting financial audits. Experience on the Edmonds Economic Development Commission and as founder and administrator of a school provided, in-depth business experience related to SnoPUD.

Work to protect natural resources and human health led me to study more science and law – vital to effective decision-making on energy and water issues.

 

How can the PUD help in the lessening the effects of climate change?

Energy and water utilities influence legislation at all levels. Current climate warming demands immediate action. We cannot wait for state and federal politicians to catch up to the realities of our climate emergency.

PUDs are closest to climate policy and action. Policy and project decisions for energy efficiency and renewables can replace old energy resources like gas, oil, nuclear and endless hydroelectric.

Our children’s trust seeks a climate that will sustain future generations. I enthusiastically support them. Only knowledgeable leaders can help achieve a sustainable future.

 

Additional comments

Please see www.WolfeForGoodEnergyPUD.com.

 

David Chan

 

Why should voters vote for you?

I will guide the PUD with its multimillion-dollar budget to operate more efficiently. I have a master’s degree in business administration. I am a credentialed CPA. I will lead the PUD with its over $600 million budget to use customer-provided funds wisely. I will ask questions. I will get input from PUD staff and the public.

 

What in your background makes you qualified for the job?

I have a proven record of public service having been elected three times as Fire District 1 commissioner. I helped the Regional Fire Authority to become a strong, fiscally responsible entity in its support to the public.

 

How can the PUD help in the lessening the effects of climate change?

The PUD provides 97 percent carbon-free energy to its customers. The energy conservation program needs to be continued. The PUD can provide support to customer-owners and to business entities to electrify buses and other vehicles.

I support the upgrade of businesses with conservation efforts. I support all efforts to reduce carbon emissions to lessen the effects of climate change to protect the environment.

The PUD gets most of its energy from hydro production. It generates less than 20 percent of its own power. Solar and wind energy provides about 8 percent of the PUD energy mix. I support the increase and purchase of renewable energy with a reasonable approach to ensure that PUD rates are stable.

 

Additional comments

I ask for your support for PUD Commissioner. I have broad qualifications, real business operational experience, and a proven record of service to Snohomish County voters. I do not represent any special interests. PUD customer-owners are my only priority.

I will work to reduce PUD electric rates to keep customer bills low. I will work to improve PUD support to all families in need and to our growing senior citizen population on fixed incomes.

I ask for your support and your vote to reduce your costs of turning your lights on.

 

Snohomish County PUD is the second largest publicly owned utility in Washington. They serve over 350,000 electric customers and about 20,000 water customers. Their service territory covers over 2,200 square miles, including all of Snohomish County and Camano Island. For more information on Snohomish County PUD services, visit snopud.com.

 

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