Local Political Campaigns Heat Up

by Doug Mah, Doug Mah & Associates, Public Policy Director for the Thurston County Chamber

Summer weather brings out visits to area parks, sunny BBQ picnics, and political candidates.

Those interested in running and serving in local elected office had to register by May 21. With the races set, summer becomes prime political campaign window for candidates. Candidates will be seeking your attention and working hard to convince you that they are qualified and the best person to represent you on the many public commissions, councils, or boards.

The August 3rd Primary Election will be held for the following entities: Port of Olympia, Commission District Number 3; City of Olympia City Council positions 2, 5, 6, and 7; Yelm City Council positions 3, 4, and 7; Olympia School Board District Number 3 and 5; Rochester School District, District 5; and Fire Protection District No. 6, position 2. In all these races, the top two vote getters will advance to the General Election in November.

This August, voters in the Griffin Fire Protection District and SE Thurston Fire Authority will be considering Levy Lid Lifts and voters in Fire Protection District 12 will be voting on the construction of a new fire station. There are no city council races on the primary election ballot in Tumwater, Lacey or Tenino. This gives candidate in those cities more time to connect with voters. Please note that the case of the Port Commission, only voters in District 3 will be voting in the Primary Election for that office.

However, all voters across Thurston County will receive a primary ballot. That is because we have a countywide vote to decide on a Levy Lid lift for Thurston County Medic One. Even with perhaps one item on your ballot, it is important that we vote.

The primary election will set the stage for a healthy debate about the future of our communities. Two of three Port of Olympia Commissioner positions will be on the November General Election. In Olympia, five of seven city council members will be on the November ballot. In Lacey and Tumwater, two of seven city council position will be on the November Ballot, plus the position of Mayor in Yelm and Tumwater.

As you start to meet and listen to candidates at doorsteps, public forums and online, please consider these topics: the impact of local regulations on housing affordability; the need to be fair and consistent in land use practices and zoning; the role infrastructure plays in sustaining economic development; and ensuring local government is an efficient provider of services.

Ballots will start arriving in your mailbox around July 17th. This year, the Primary Election narrows the field of candidates and has several public safety items up for consideration. The Thurston County Chamber of Commerce, Public Policy Division encourages you to be an informed voter and, above all else, thank you for remembering to vote.

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