SEQUIM — Former Sequim mayor Ken Hays is challenging incumbent Will Purser for the District 1 seat on the Clallam County Public Utility District commission.
Hays registered with the state Public Disclosure Commission on April 21 which allows him to begin raising campaign funds.
Purser, who has held the seat since he was appointed in 2001 and then was elected in 2002, filed with the PDC on Monday.
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.
“I’m running for commissioner because more needs to be done to bring the PUD into the 21st century and do more to avoid rate hikes,” Hays said in an announcement.
In addition, he said, the PUD “must do more with county authorities to give us countywide broadband for high-speed internet — this should have been installed a decade ago.”
He advocated re-negotiating the Bonneville Power Administration post-2028 contract “to include pathways for new power demands for businesses bringing jobs and revenue to the county.
“I will find ways to say yes to economic development that helps control costs to our ratepayers and brings prosperity to the county,” he said in the release.
Hays charged that the PUD “pays lip service to renewable energy, allowing good projects to flounder when they would help control ratepayers’ rising costs.
“I will support and seek out every opportunity to diversify our energy portfolio to meet mandated requirements and to provide cheaper sources of energy for ratepayers,” he said.
He added he would lead the PUD in “maximum conservation measures for every household and business that want to save on their energy bills.”
Hays vowed to ensure that all stakeholders are included in strategic planning.
“It’s time the PUD listens to its ratepayers and finds ways to say yes to high-speed internet, new economic and energy opportunities and creative ways to control utility rates,” Hays said.
Hays also said he supports electrification of transportation, especially super-charging of medium and heavy-duty trucks.
His public service includes two terms on the Sequim City Council, from 2009 to 2016. He resigned from the seat during his third term.
He served as mayor from 2010 to 2014 “during which we completed the downtown sub-area plan, acquired the city’s first bond rating, and built the new city hall and police station.”
Hays is a longtime PUD customer who has, since 1977, lived in Sequim, where he and wife, Joanna, raised a son. He has owned an architecture practice in Sequim since 1988. He said he has designed such local structures as the James Center for Performing Arts in Sequim’s Carrie Blake Park, The Lodge at Sherwood Village in Sequim, the Skills Center at Lincoln School in Port Angeles and the Multi-Modal Transportation Center in Forks.
“My professional experience is extensive and includes budget development, project development, construction and facilities management,” he said.
Executive Editor Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3530 or at [email protected].