By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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“Democracy doesn't work if you don't participate,” said Jackie Aase of the League of Women Voters of Jefferson County.
“So anyone wanting to know about the candidates needs to show up at these forums and ask them questions.”
Ballots for the Nov. 4 election will be mailed to registered voters Oct. 15.
Jefferson County contested races this year are for county commissioner, sheriff, prosecuting attorney, District Court judge, assessor and the District 2 seat on the Jefferson County Public Utility District commission.
The offices of assessor, treasurer and Superior Court clerk are uncontested. Opportunities are scheduled to ask questions of those candidates.
Forums sponsored by the League of Women Voters and Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce are free and open to the public, although the chamber forums have a paid lunch service.
Port Townsend Rotary Club forums are open to club members and their guests.
All chamber forums take place at noon the Elks Club, 555 Otto St. while the Rotary Club meets at noon in the Northwest Maritime Center, 431 Water St.
The first league forum — which will be at the Quimper Grange, 1219 Corona St., Port Townsend — will feature the sheriff's race and uncontested candidates.
Wendy Davis, 47, a former Bremerton and Poulsbo police officer, and Dave Stanko, 66, a retired police lieutenant from Fullerton, Calif. — both Democrats — are facing off to fill the position left vacate by Tony Hernandez who has taken a position as police chief of Milton.
Chief Criminal Deputy Joe Nole was sworn in Friday as the interim sheriff. He will serve until Nov. 25 when the winner of the general election will be sworn in for the remainder of Hernandez's term and a four-year elected term.
Also appearing at the forum will be three uncontested candidates: Assessor Jeff Chapman, 62, who was appointed to fill an unexpired term and is facing the voters for the first time; Superior Court Clerk Ruth Gordon, 60, who is seeking a third term; and Stacie Prada Hoskins, 43, county Department of Community Development planning director, for treasurer.
Davis, a Port Ludlow resident, and Stanko of Cape George also will debate in a forum sponsored by the Port Townsend Rotary Club at noon Sept. 16 and in another sponsored by the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce at noon Oct. 20.
The league will conduct a judicial forum at 7 p.m. Sept. 17 at the Port Ludlow Beach Club, 121 Marina View Drive, for District Court judge and prosecuting attorney.
Incumbent prosecuting attorney Scott Rosekrans, 62, of Port Townsend, and challenger Michael Haas, 53, a Port Townsend attorney, will debate.
Also speaking at the forum will be incumbent District Court Judge Jill Landes, 64, and challenger Cheryl Potebnya, 61, a former deputy prosecutor.
The judicial candidates also will face off in a forum sponsored by the Jefferson County Bar Association at noon next Tuesday, Sept. 9, in the Superior Court Courtroom at the courthouse at 1820 Jefferson St., in Port Townsend.
The Rotary Club will host the prosecuting attorney candidates at noon Sept. 30. and the judge candidates at noon Oct. 14.
Legislative and Public Utility District commissioner candidates are scheduled to appear at
7 p.m. Sept. 24 at the Port Townsend Community Center, 620 Tyler St.
Incumbent state representative Steve Tharinger, 65, a Sequim Democrat, and challenger Thomas Greisamer, 73, a Moclips Republican, will speak.
Tharinger is seeking a third term as a representative of 24th Legislative District, which covers Jefferson and Clallam counties, and a portion of Grays Harbor County.
Also featured will be PUD hopefuls Kenneth Collins, 67, of Nordland, and Anthony De Leo, 65, of Port Hadlock.
The chamber will host the PUD candidates on Sept. 29 followed by an appearance before the Rotary Club on Oct. 21. Both will begin at noon.
A league forum between county commissioner candidates Dan Toepper, 54, and Kathleen Kler, 64, takes place at 7 p.m. Oct. 2 at the Tri-Area Community Center, 10 West Valley Road in Chimacum.
Toepper of Port Ludlow, filed for office with no party preference, while Kler is a Quilcene Democrat.
Also appearing that night are auditor candidates Judy Maves Klatt, 52, and Rose Ann Carroll. 63.
Both are Democrats running to fill the seat that will be vacated by Donna Eldridge.
The commissioner candidates will appear Oct, 27 at the Chamber and Oct. 28 at the Rotary. Both begin at noon.
The league forums are co-sponsored by the American Association of University Women and the Port Townsend-Jefferson County Leader, a weekly newspaper.
Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or firstname.lastname@example.org.