PORT TOWNSEND — Three seats on the Port Townsend City Council will have new faces, as the three incumbents have decided to not run for reelection.
Incumbents Michelle Sandoval, Ariel Speser and Pam Adams all recently announced their plans to not run for reelection.
The offices are among the port commissioner, school board, hospital district and other taxing district positions up for grabs on the Peninsula in the Nov. 2 off-year general election — 42 in Clallam County, 46 in Jefferson.
The candidate filing period is May 17-21.
Council member and current Mayor Michelle Sandoval is completing her 20th year of serving on the council and said she wouldn’t have ran for her fifth term if it wasn’t for the city preparing to hire a new city manager and other department heads and her desire to assist with the transition, she said Friday.
“I have been in for 20 years and I think that’s been a good, long time,” Sandoval said. “It’s been a real honor to serve.
“It’s been incredibly educational to learn the ins and outs of my beloved city government and at the same time, it is quite demanding in terms of time and energy and my time is up.
“I hope that new dedicated people will step forward.”
Sandoval expects a transition period for the newly configured council, but has faith things will settle quickly.
“It’s a cycle we go through. It’s happened before,” she said regarding three new council members being elected. “You never know who is going to win, so every cycle can mean changes at the council.”
Pam Adams, who is in her last year of her second four-year term, decided not to run for reelection after dealing with the stress and challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, she said via email on Thursday.
“If not for the pandemic, the isolation, the stress, I would probably have decided to run again,” she aid. “I love the privilege of serving this community as a council member.
“Serving on the Jefferson County Board of Health was a rare privilege, especially during the pandemic. We still have work to do but I feel a sense of optimism about a more normal future.”
Adams did have second thoughts when she heard about Sandoval and Speser deciding not to run as well.
“When Council member Ariel Speser told me she was not running again, I did think twice,” Adams said. “Three new council members at one time is not ideal. The learning curve is very steep unless one has worked in government before.
“I am sure the new council members will make up the hard working, dedicated, and visionary council it always has been.”
Speser is at the end of her first and only term and is choosing to not run for reelection due to time conflicts with her job with the state Attorney General’s Office and wanting to invest more time with her growing family.
“It was a really tough decision because I absolutely love being on the council and I love the work, but the reality is I have a really busy schedule and a lot on my plate right now with my day job and advancing my career there,” Speser said.
Speser had to make a choice between moving forward in her salaried and full benefits job and the council, due to meetings and work that is conducted outside of the Monday night meetings, she said.
“I had to make that choice for what’s best for my family,” she said. “But, if there were more hours in a day, and if there was a way I could make it all work I definitely would have.”
“I want to thank the community and I’m very grateful for this experience and I think that anyone that is running will be pleasantly surprised and very fortunate to find themselves on council should they be elected.”
Speser has faith that the experienced council members and city staff will help the transition go over smoothly, and urges interested people to run, even if it is just one term.
“I really want to encourage people to run. I think it’s very important to have a diverse pool of candidates, and I just really hope that the ideas and conversations people are having with the community are able to be discussed through the candidate process,” she said.
“I really want to encourage people one term is great and to successfully complete a term, that’s what the position asks of you. I think it’s definitely OK if people are thinking about running and they think ‘oh, I don’t know if I can commit for eight years, but I can commit for four years’ that they should still definitely consider the position,” she continued.
“I think that even if you have to roll off after four years, you have still helped benefit the community in a big way.”
Here are office holders whose seats will be on the Nov. 2 ballot in both Clallam and Jefferson counties:
• Sequim School Board (Clallam, Jefferson): Brandino Gibson, Brian Kuh.
• Quillayute Valley School Board (Clallam, Jefferson): Kevin Hinchen, Ron Hurn.
• Forks Fire District 1 (Clallam, Jefferson): Anthony (Tony) Romberg.
• Sequim-area Fire District 3 (Clallam, Jefferson): G. Michael Gawley.
Here are office holders, other than Port Townsend City Council, whose seats will be on the Nov. 2 ballot in Jefferson County:
• Port of Port Townsend: Bill Putney, Peter Hanke.
• Port Townsend School Board: Jennifer James-Wilson, Constance Welch.
• Chimacum School Board: Sarah Martin, Mickey Nagy, Kathryn Lamka.
• Quilcene School Board: Paul Mahan, Cindy Pollard.
• Brinnon School Board: Mary Fickett, Shirley Towne.
• Queets-Clearwater School board: Sandra Wells-Kalama, Dorothy J. Cook, Kristeen Mowitch.
• East Jefferson County Hospital District 2 (Jefferson Healthcare Hospital): Cornelis Kees Kolff, Mari Dressler.
• West Jefferson County Hospital District 1: Nikki Hay, Carol Jean Young.
• East Jefferson Fire District 1: Deborah Stinson, George Randles.
• Quilcene Fire District 2: Melody Bacchus.
• Port Ludlow Fire District 3: Ronald Helmonds.
• Brinnon Fire District 4: Richard B. Moore, Ken McEdwards; Position 3 vacant.
• Discovery Bay Fire District 5: Ford Kessler.
• Clearwater Fire District 7: Steven Martin, Eugene Bunker, Wayne Sisco.
• Coyle-Thorndyke Park and Recreation District 1: Larry Robinson.
• Paradise Bay Water District 1: Cal White.
• Brinnon Water District 2: James Boyd.
• Brinnon Cemetery District 1: Myrtle Corey.
• Gardiner Cemetery District 3: Jim Hueter; Diane (Movius) Martin.
• Quilcene Cemetery District 2: Laurie K. Neuenschwander.
Here are office holders whose seats will be on the Nov. 2 ballot in Clallam County:
• Port of Port Angeles: Colleen McAleer, Steven Burke.
• Clallam County Hospital District 1 (Forks Community Hospital): Donald Lawley; Position 5 vacant.
• Clallam County Hospital District 2 (Olympic Medical Center): Jim Leskinovitch, J. Thomas Oblak, Thom Hightower.
• Port Angeles City Council: La Trisha Suggs, Mike French, Lindsey Schromen-Wawrin, Kate Dexter.
• Sequim City Council: Sarah Kincaid, Mike Pence, Rachel Anderson, Brandon Janisse, Keith Larkin.
• Forks City Council: John D. Hillcar, Joe Soha; Mayor Tim Fletcher.
• Port Angeles School Board: Sarah Methner, Cindy Kelly.
• Crescent School Board: Sandy Middleton, Joey Currie.
• Cape Flattery School Board: Janine Ledford, Michael J. Lawrence, LeAnne Fletcher.
• Port Angeles-area (not including city) Fire District 2: David R. Whitney.
• Joyce-area Fire District 4: Terry Barnett.
• Clallam Bay-area Fire District 5: Greg Bellamy Sr.
• La Push-area Fire District 6: Thomas Rosmond.
• Park and Recreation District 1 (Sequim Aquatic Recreation Center-YMCA): Ray Heninger, Frank Pickering.
• Quillayute Park and Recreation District: Donald Grafstrom, Susie Brandelius.
• Black Diamond Water District: Sarah Martinez.
• Sunland Water District: Alan Frank.
Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at [email protected]