Public Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark has earned a second four-year term with his solid stewardship of the state Department of Natural Resources and its vast portfolio of farmland, forests and aquatic holdings.
Democrat Goldmark was hired by voters to oversee public resources, which he has done. But when he first took office he found a department with its finances and operations in turmoil.
Timber accounts had virtually imploded and departmental overhead had run amok. He trimmed staff and took control of expenses en route to salvaging finances and pointing more money toward struggling counties.
Goldmark has been a creative and adaptive manager of state aquatic lands. An early rethinking of old policy helped protect Maury Island. To complement the creation of new aquatic reserves, he formed Puget SoundCorps to put people to work on Sound restoration.
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He is working on protection of the marbled murrelet. He is also exploring conversion of biomass left behind after timber harvests into jet fuel.
Goldmark is an Okanogan rancher with a doctorate in molecular biology. His public service over the years ranges from the Okanogan School Board and the Board of Regents of Washington State University to his appointment by former Gov. Mike Lowry to be the state director of agriculture. Administrator, council and board member and wildland firefighter, all in the name of environmental stewardship and better managing state resources.
His Republican opponent, Clint Didier, who filed for the post hours before candidate filing closed, lacks the civic and administrative credentials for the job. In 2010 he ran and lost in the primary for U.S. senator.
Goldmark has earned the confidence of voters for another four-year term as commissioner of public lands.