PUD commissioner announces a second run at his seat

Jeff Randall hopes for re-election

Jeff Randall.

Jeff Randall.

PORT TOWNSEND — Jeff Randall is seeking a second term as a Jefferson County Public Utility District commissioner.

He registered with the state Public Disclosure Commission on March 8 and announced last week his intention to file in May for the six-year term in the non-partisan District 1 position representing Port Townsend.

“I try to bring a spirit of collaboration, curiosity, and creative problem-solving to my work as commissioner,” said Randall, 55, in a press release.

“We are a rural county with limited local funding. We can only address complex problems by working together. If re-elected, I will continue to work hard to collaborate with other agency partners to make sure we continue to be successful now and into the future.”

Candidate filing week for the Nov. 8 general election is May 16-20.

A top-two primary is set for Aug. 2.

If three or more file for a position, then the primary will eliminate one before the general election.

Randall had raised $950 in contributions by Monday and listed no expenditures. No opponents had filed with the PDC or announced intention to run by Monday.

“I ran for office in 2016 because I was concerned about Jefferson PUD’s performance after it assumed electric utility services from Puget Sound Energy in 2013,” Randall said.

“I am glad to report that the PUD’s situation has improved dramatically in the past six years. Our finances are strong and we now receive clean accounting audits.”

The district has taken on a variety of projects now in development, such as building a new water tank in Quilcene, collaborating with Jefferson County government on the Ludlow Sewer project and providing high speed fiber broadband throughout the county.

The latter will be years more in the making, Randall said Monday. But with the state now allowing public utility districts to be service providers, the way seems clear to get it done, he added.

“Rural areas don’t get fiber if you wait for the big companies to do it,” he said.

The PUD will add it in stages. So far, it has about $25 million in grants and low-interest loans. Total county coverage — which will take hundreds of miles of fiber — is estimated now to cost about $90 million.

Additional state and federal funds have been obtained for water infrastructure and energy efficiency programs, Randall said in his release.

He said that his interest in the poplar tree controversy — in which the city would cut down some 130 poplars on both sides of Sims Way in the Sims Gateway and Boat Yard Expansion Project in conjunction with the Port of Port Townsend and the PUD — is limited to a desire to see lines placed underground before the winter storms.

Otherwise, “I’m trusting to the city and port’s processes and for the public to weigh in on their issues,” he said Monday.

Randall, a 25-year Jefferson County resident and a native of Washington state, moved to Port Townsend in 1997 to take a job with the City of Port Townsend, where he rose to serve as the Building and Community Development director.

He holds a law degree from the University of Washington and worked in city and county community development for 13 years.

In 2006, he entered the renewable energy industry as a solar system designer for local electrical contractor Power Trip Energy. He left that position upon his election to the PUD board.

Randall believes the PUD is vital to Jefferson County’s efforts to address climate change.

“The power we receive from the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) is 95 percent carbon free,” he said in his release.

”To reduce our local greenhouse gas emissions, we must use that clean electricity to replace the fossil fuels heating our buildings and fueling our transportation system.

“Ensuring our local electric grid has the capacity to deliver this additional electricity to our customers will be a challenge I look forward to tackling,” he added.

Randall led successful bond campaigns in Port Townsend in 2015 and 2016: a $3.6 million city bond to improve Mountain View Common and the Port Townsend School District’s $40.9 million bond to replace the aging Grant Street elementary school with the new Salish Coast pre-K through 5th grade school. Both measures passed with more than 70 percent voter approval.

“The PUD belongs to all Jefferson County citizens, he said in his release.

”I want to use this opportunity to continue to share my vision for the ways in which an effectively run PUD can make our communities stronger and more resilient,” Randall said.

His campaign website is at www.Jeff4PUD.org.

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Executive Editor Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3530 or at lleach@peninsuladailynews.com.

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