Jefferson County Commissioner candidates make virtual push for votes | 2020 Election

Posted 10/15/20

For one, it was all about experience and endorsements. The other, local know-how.

Lorna Smith and Heidi Eisenhour Zoomed into the living rooms of Jefferson County voters during an online candidate …

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Jefferson County Commissioner candidates make virtual push for votes | 2020 Election

Posted

For one, it was all about experience and endorsements. The other, local know-how.

Lorna Smith and Heidi Eisenhour Zoomed into the living rooms of Jefferson County voters during an online candidate forum late last week, with each offering their last pitch for support before General Election ballots arrive in local mailboxes this week.

For roughly 90 minutes, the pair squared off once again, in a webinar sponsored by the Jefferson County League of Women Voters and American Association of University Women-Port Townsend. 

Both stuck to familiar themes.

Smith, who moved to Cape George after a career in Snohomish County government, leaned on her background as a manager in the county’s planning and development department.

Eisenhour pointed repeatedly to her 40-year history in Jefferson County, and the multitude of community causes she’s championed.

“I have been tackling the big and little needs of our community for decades,” Eisenhour said.

She helped draft the county’s first comprehensive plan when she was in her 20s, Eisenhour added.

“The proof is in the pudding,” Eisenhour said.

Smith noted not only her expertise, but her activism.

“I’ve been a social justice advocate for my entire life,” Smith said. “I’ve marched. I’ve protested.” 

“I will continue to be that kind of activist when elected to the board of county commissioners,” Smith said.

Questions for the candidates ran the gamut from the philosophical (including their decision-making process, the challenges of public service, and the limits of their patience) to real-world plans (such as making broadband internet more accessible, and the completion of the Port Hadlock wastewater system).

They were limited to 2-minute responses, with no rebuttals to their opponent’s answers.

On a sewer system for Port Hadlock, Smith noted the funding gap in paying for the project.

Local businesses and households shouldn’t face the burden of paying “an unreasonable amount of money,” Smith said.

Eisenhour said she made a summer research project of talking to neighbors in Port Hadlock about sewers.

“What I’m hearing is, it’s pretty divided,” Eisenhour said. 

The big concern is the cost for hookups, she said, and added that some businesses are in support of sewers.

A common refrain, Eisenhour said, is that people want to wait until there is a full plan for completing the project.

“I don’t have a sense that people have that clarity,” Eisenhour said. “I would work double time to make sure we get to that place … before we roll it out to the community.”

While some questions centered on issues well beyond the realm of county government, such as a woman’s access to low-cost abortion and birth control, there were other national issues that did hit home — including systemic injustices faced by minorities.

Smith stressed she has always stood up for equity for women, minorities and the LGBTQ community.

Workforce diversity was a focus for her when she was a manager in Snohomish County government, Smith said. 

“I went out of my way to recruit minority folks,” Smith said, and touched on her recruiting efforts in Seattle’s downtown and Central District.

Smith mentioned her ethnically diverse family, and recalled protesting with those seeking justice.

“I support Black Lives Matter wholeheartedly,” Smith said, and added she would call for a review of the county’s hiring practices if she’s elected to the board of commissioners.

Candidates also fielded queries on climate change, homelessness and housing, the county’s water supply, and the makeup of the board of commissioners itself.

When asked for closing statements, Smith said it was “time to roll the credits” and listed her endorsements.

Eisenhour finished with a broad appeal; she pointed to her trusted history here, “in our county,” made with an exaggerated finger directed downward.

“This race isn’t about me. It’s about us,” Eisenhour said.

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Pamela Roberts

Here is the link to the video of this candidates forum if you want to watch it!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgFloUbRCic&t=827s

3 days ago