Kidd third to announce for DCD position

Candidates headed for August primary contest

Cherie Kidd.

Cherie Kidd.

PORT ANGELES — Former mayor Cherie Kidd, a business owner, has announced she will run for the position of Clallam County Department of Community Development director, paving the way for a primary contest.

The Port Angeles resident is the third candidate to express interest in the post. Kevin Russell, 65, filed with the state Public Disclosure Commission on April 11 as the second hopeful aiming to be elected to the position now held by Mary Ellen Winborn, who is not running for reelection. Jesse Major, 28, a county employee who once covered county government for the Peninsula Daily News, filed with the PDC on April 1.

The official 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.

Kidd, 76, filed with the Public Disclosure Commission on Tuesday for the position, allowing her to raise and spend campaign funds. As a mini-filer, she is not required to file financial reports with the PDC unless she raises $5,000 or more.

The Department of Community Development (DCD) is responsible for comprehensive planning, zoning and the processing of development and building permits. Clallam County’s is the only DCD director in the nation that is elected rather than appointed.

Kidd, the recipient of the 2020 Community Service Award, said her goal would be to increase efficiency in the DCD “the moment you walk in the office.”

“I wish to streamline permitting to expedite new projects and provide excellent customer service,” Kidd said.

“I will emphasize public outreach and accessibility, expand affordable housing, and work together with the sheriff and the county commissioners on improved code enforcement.

“We have laws in place for code enforcement. Let’s work together to enforce them.”

Kidd said her interest in expanding affordable housing is to create more housing opportunities for people who want to work in Port Angeles, increasing density for family housing.

Kidd also said the department’s director should be able to build consensus through cooperation, collaboration and negotiation with other elected officials.

The DCD director and county commissioners have been known to clash in the past.

“Our focus should be to move things along quickly and eliminate bureaucratic barriers,” Kidd said.

“The people of Clallam County deserve to know that their county government is working together collaboratively in order to serve their needs in a timely manner.”

Kidd said her greatest strengths are “my strong working relationships with other elected officials, my commitment to public outreach and input and the proven ability to get the job done.

“The Department of Community Development is the focal point of our community for service and growth. Permits should be completed in a timely manner and there should always be open communication with the public. My business management background is vital to retaining experienced personnel in our planning department. Customer service is a priority.”

Kidd, a graduate of Port Angeles High School, is a third-generation Port Angeles resident, her family having arrived in Port Angeles as homesteaders in the late 1800s. She owns AAA Affordable Storage and U-Haul with her husband, Bob Forsberg.

Kidd has served as past president of both Noon Kiwanis Club and Noon Soroptimist Club of Port Angeles. She chaired the Port Angeles Planning Commission, where she served one term.

Kidd served on the Port Angeles City Council from 2008 to 2020, sometimes during periods of controversy such as heated discussions over fluoride in the drinking water. During her tenure, she held the council-elected positions of deputy mayor and mayor. She noted that she is the only woman elected to three consecutive terms on the council.

“I served on the Port Angeles Planning Commission and the Port Angeles City Council for a total of 16 years of public service,” Kidd said. “I have been through the process of the comprehensive plan update. This experience sets me apart from the other candidates.”

The county comprehensive plan update will be due to state officials in 2025.

“Our comprehensive plan 10-year update is a vision and a guide to our growth in the next decade,” Kidd said. “This will require a great deal of public input as we plan our future together. How do you see your county wanting to grow? Public outreach is something I am passionate about and intend to implement.”

Kidd lists among her accomplishments her work for the continued operation of the William Shore Memorial Pool, Port Angeles’ public swimming pool. She worked as a council member to “Save the Pool,” supporting a community effort to save it from demolition. It operates as a park district and now marks more than 125,000 visits per year, she said.

Kidd served as a pool commissioner for 12 years, including acting as chair.

Kidd also advocated heavily and successfully for higher safety fences on the Eighth Street bridges, which stemmed a growing tide of suicides.

The PA Forward Committee, which Kidd chaired for 12 years, began working toward a plan to beautify the downtown waterfront in 2008, she said.

“The American Institute of Architects grant has helped us create a beautification plan including new beaches, walkways, parks and beaches. This waterfront improvement plan led the way as a catalyst for further investment in our downtown, including the Field Arts and Events Hall.”

Said Kidd: “With a solid record of public service, community service and being a local business owner, I feel that I am uniquely qualified for the position of Director of Community Development. Experience, results and commitment to work together will keep our Clallam County growing in the right direction as the beautiful place we are all grateful to call home.”

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Executive Editor Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3530 or at [email protected].

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