Incumbent state Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark should be elected to a second term.
The Democrat from Okanogan County seems to be an adequate manager who is a good steward of public lands.
His challenger, Republican Clint Didier, has aggressively gone after Goldmark, claiming he has eroded the morale among employees at the Department of Natural Resources.
In an interview with the U-B Editorial Board, Didier said employees are unhappy at DNR and some are supporting his campaign.
Goldmark, in an interview with KING 5 TV in Seattle, summed up the race like this — “I think I’m highly qualified. I don’t think he’s qualified.
“... I just don’t think the citizens of the state of Washington are going to want to have somebody like that managing a very essential and important and valuable portfolio of lands.”
Goldmark is clearly more qualified to manage DNR than Didier, but Didier should not be dismissed with such seeming disdain.
Didier, a former pro football player who farms in Connell, ran for the U.S. Senate two years ago. His politics are as conservative as they are heartfelt. He has genuine concerns about the government — at all levels — including denying access to outdoor recreational space now enjoyed by those who hunt, fish and hike.
Didier said he would prefer to continue farming in Connell with his sons than go to Olympia for four years to run DNR. But, he said, he feels he has an obligation to bring his vision to the office and then turn it over to someone else who will carry on.
Goldmark gets mixed reviews on the morale in his office. It’s not a total mess but the situation apparently has room to improve. Even if Didier’s claim is overblown, Goldmark should take the time to assess he work environment in his office.
Goldmark has received high marks for management of state aquatic lands and taking action to protect Maury Island. And Goldmark’s office is looking into the conversion of biomass left behind after timber harvests into jet fuel.
Goldmark, a rancher with a doctorate in molecular biology, was state Secretary of Agriculture under Gov. Mike Lowry. He has served on the Board of Regents of Washington State University and on the Okanogon School Board.
Didier has no such experience. He is merely passionate about conservation to ensure farmers can continue to farm and those who love the outdoors continue to enjoy the forests and lakes.
Goldmark is clearly the better choice.