PORT HADLOCK — The first head-to-head debate of county commissioner candidates this year saw last year’s buzzwords “pit-to-pier” replaced by hot new phrases like “urban growth area” and “priorities of government.”
But unlike the venerable Fred Hill Materials Inc. pit-to-pier proposal in Shine, the new watchwords aren’t shaping out to be a highly polarized issues.
Instead, District 2 Commissioner Glen Huntingford, R-Chimacum, and Democratic challenger David Sullivan of Cape George spent a Wednesday Tri-Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon appearance discussing many of the same ideals.
Huntingford is a 12-year incumbent, while Sullivan was elected in 2002 to the Jefferson County Public Utility District No. 1 board.
If elected, Sullivan would have to give up his PUD seat.
Both candidates say they support basing a county budget on the priorities of what is required and what the citizens want.
‘Priorities of government’
Jefferson County started that process before Gov. Gary Locke left “priorities of government” ringing in Olympia lawmakers’ ears, Huntingford said.
Even so, Sullivan, a registered nurse, said he believes more attention should be paid to the county Health and Human Services Department, along with public safety.
Public safety is a priority, said Huntingford. It was ranked that way in a survey sent out to county residents last year.
Sullivan’s comments came in regard to Best Beginnings, an infant nursing program that faced being halved when federal funding ran out July 1.
County commissioners, including Huntingford, initially declined to provide the funding and instead asked the city of Port Townsend to cover the cost.
Ultimately, the commissioners and City Council shared the expense.
Each candidate on Wednesday expressed support for building the urban growth area in Port Hadlock and Irondale.
The sooner the better, Sullivan said.
He supports a sewer system in the business areas, but believes research needs to be done on the best way to pay for such a system.Huntingford agreed. One of the biggest opportunities in the area will be for medical facilities to open there, he added.