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I applaud the recent Seattle Times editorial expressing the important of electing a balanced and pragmatic commissioner of public lands.

As a product of Seattle’s public schools, a graduate of the University of Washington’s Department of Earth Sciences, a former legislative staffer in Olympia and a lawyer, I have given much thought to our political and natural ecosystem. I have stood atop Mount Rainer, hiked miles of our forests and fished many of our rivers. I cherish as much as anyone the splendor of our environment.

I am also a small-forest landowner. My company, Norseman Timber, like the state of Washington, is focused on sustainable forestry. The reality is, if our state’s timberlands were no longer actively managed, they would fall into disarray. Our state’s forest-products industry plants some 52 million seedlings annually, supports some 105,000 jobs statewide, generates almost $200 million in taxes each year and our state public forestlands are a major funding source for our public schools.

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Those facts are important for our state’s wellbeing. Our commissioner of public lands must have the proper perspective and skills to continue the adept sustainable management of our state’s natural resources.

Georges Yates, Seattle