PORT ANGELES — J. Thomas Oblak retains his seat on the Olympic Medical Center commission and Heather Jeffers will serve as a new member of the board after a second count on Wednesday of Tuesday’s general election votes gave both large margins of victory.
J. Thomas Oblak, retired director for environment and safety in hospitals, was re-elected to Position 1 on the board, earning 10,858 out of 18,674 votes, equaling about 58 percent of the vote.
Voter turnout in Clallam County was 46.5 percent, with 26,584 votes counted out of 57,166 provided voters and an estimated 650 ballots left to count.
Oblak faced off against Jim McEntire, former Clallam County and Port of Port Angeles commissioner and a retired U.S. Coast Guard captain. McEntire earned 7,765 votes, equaling just about 42 percent.
McEntire said he sent a message to Oblak congratulating him on his successful campaign.
Said Oblak: “I would like to thank voters in Hospital District 2, those who endorsed me, made donations to my campaign, and to a group I call the Fab Five for entrusting me with a valuable community asset.
“My commitment to all is to prove worthy of their trust.”
The next count will be today.
Oblak and McEntire had clashed over vaccine mandates, with Oblak supporting the governor’s mandate that requires medical staff to get vaccinated.
“It’s a mandate; we have to follow it, and I support it,” Oblak said during a candidate forum.
McEntire said he would rather the decision be made by individuals.
“With respect to OMC staff, I’m not a big fan of mandates,” McEntire said. “I tend to trust the good judgment and the intelligence of hospital staff.”
For the at-large seat being vacated by longtime commissioner Jim Leskinovich, who declined to run for reelection, Jeffers had a hefty lead over Rogers.
Jeffers is the adminstrator for Avamere Olympic Rehabilitation of Sequim, and Rogers is a former Port Angeles City Council member and mayor.
Jefferson led Wednesday with 12,030 votes out of 18,658, equaling just more than 64.5 percent of the vote.
“I never thought a commissioner’s race would be so challenging,” Jeffers said. “I am looking forward to moving our health care system forward.”
Rogers, a small business owner, earned 6,573 votes, equaling about 35 percent of the vote.
Rogers said she sent a congratulatory email to Jeffers and expressed thanks to the community and voters.
“We all learned a lot about OMC, and I hope everyone stays engaged and supports OMC,” Rogers said.
Reporter Ken Park can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.