Forum over quickly for Clallam County Fire District No. 2 candidates

PORT ANGELES — So few questions were asked of candidates looking for seats on the Clallam County Fire District No. 2 board of commissioners that a candidate forum ended after 15 minutes.

Incumbent Tom Martin relied heavily on his experience over the last 12 years as a commissioner while challenger Patricia Riefenstahl said that after 12 years, it’s time for a change on the commission during the Tuesday evening forum.

The two will be on the Nov. 7 general election ballot.

Martin said that recruiting volunteer firefighters can be a daunting task for the fire district and that training often takes about a year.

“I have to say, in the fire service it’s a brotherhood,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re paid or volunteer, this is where you find out who you really have.”

Riefenstahl said that recruiting isn’t the problem, but retention is.

“Retention is hard because when you become a volunteer for the fire service it takes a lot of commitment, training and it takes dollars,” she said.

Martin said it is important for fire commissioners to have both fire experience and business experience. He said as a commissioner he is constantly looking to learn more about the administration side.

He also said it’s important to work with other organizations when funding for needed services falls short.

Riefenstahl said she does have business experience and would be willing to learn the skills needed to be a good commissioner.

“I have lots of background in business,” she said. “My husband has a business.”

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Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected].