Jefferson Healthcare hospital races focus on experience versus change
By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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“There is a difference between social activism and the role of a commissioner, which is governance,” said Jill Buhler, who is running for re-election in Position 5 against challenger Savannah Hensel, a 28-year-old caregiver.
“I understand the value of social activism, but a commissioner’s role is not to change the law but to work within the system for the betterment of everyone in Jefferson County,” said Buhler, 67, who was appointed to the commission in 1995 and has been re-elected three times.
“To think of a commissioner as a social activist is misguided at best and reckless at worst,” said Buhler, a journalist and a photographer, at a Thursday night candidate forum in Port Townsend.
Position 3 incumbent Marc Mauney, who is seeking a second term, said that challenger Matt Ready, a process improvement specialist at Jefferson Healthcare, isn’t realistic.
“One of my opponent’s goals is to change health care funding on a state or national level, but that’s not realistic for a board member on a 25-bed rural hospital,” said Mauney, 58, a retired physician.
“If he wants to do that, he should run for [state] Legislature or for Congress.”
The incumbents and challengers are running as slates, although Ready said after the meeting, he expects some voters will split their preferences.
Ready, 40, said he will resign his job at the hospital if he is elected commissioner.
“May of the challenges we have are shared by health care providers across the state and across the nation,” Ready said.
“As commissioner, I will work tirelessly to leverage our local resources and ingenuity to improve our district operations, and I will advocate for better state and national health care laws,” he added.
“I think that’s part of the job.”
Hensel said: “My opponent has said that I am out of touch with reality.
“I think this is an example of her failure to branch out of her own world.
“I will use my fresh outlook about health care to advocate for all the realities in this community and will bring a perspective to the board that is not being offered,” Hensel said.
Ballots in the all-mail Nov. 5 election will be distributed Wednesday.
Nikki Hay is running unopposed for a seat on the Forks Community Hospital commission.
Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or email@example.com.
Last modified: October 13. 2013 6:37PM