State Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz

State Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz

Jefferson County Democrats to hear about orca protection at annual Fish Feast

PORT TOWNSEND — Hilary Franz, state commissioner of public lands, is expected to update Jefferson County Democrats about actions by her department to protect southern resident orcas when she speaks at the county Democrats’ annual Fish Feast on Sunday.

Franz will be the keynote speaker at the 24th annual Fish Feast at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, Erickson Building, 4907 Landes St.

Doors will open at 4 p.m. for refreshments and socializing, followed by dinner at 5:30 p.m. and speeches by Franz and others.

Claire Roney, Fish Feast organizer, said the Fish Feast is the Jefferson County Democrats’ major fundraiser of the year.

The cost per ticket is $50. Ticket contributions support party work for Democratic causes and candidates. One dollar of each ticket is donated to the Jefferson County Fair Board.

The menu includes sockeye salmon from Key City Fish, barbecue by Dos Okies’ Larry Dennison, shellfish courtesy of Taylor Shellfish, Port Townsend Brewing Co. beers, Pane d’Amore rolls, greens and veggies from local farms, wine from the Wine Cellar and cake.

The state Department of Natural Resources headed by Franz is part of a task force on orca recovery that Gov. Jay Inslee established in March.

The task force is charged with examining the threats and conditions that have depleted the southern resident orcas — which are endangered, numbering 75 individuals — and then recommending a recovery program.

The state DNR manages and protects nearly 6 million acres of forest, range, agricultural, aquatic and commercial lands for more than $200 million in annual financial benefit for public schools, state institutions and county services.

Jefferson County is in DNR’s Orca-Straits District for protecting habitat and providing public access in state-owned aquatic lands.

Also scheduled to speak is state Rep. Noel Frame of Seattle, vice chair of the House Finance Committee, discussing the panel’s work on unions, small business and tax reform with a focus on the business and occupation tax.

Other speakers will be the two state representatives for the 24th District, which covers Jefferson and Clallam counties and part of Grays Harbor County. Both Democrats, they are Mike Chapman of Port Angeles and Steve Tharinger of Sequim.

Also speaking will be the Washington state Democrats chair, Tina Podlodowski.

U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell has committed to the fundraiser with her financial sponsorship of a table for 20 Young Democrats.

Tickets may be purchased online at jeffco democrats.com/fish-feast-2018/ or at the door.

For more information, or to request discount tickets — which are available first-come, first-served to members of the Jefferson County Democrats — call or text 360-379-5655.

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