Voting underway for port and fire commissioner

By Pat Jenkins

The Dispatch

Voters countywide are helping choose among three candidates for Port of Tacoma Commissioner, one of whom doesn’t want to be picked.

That’s one of two contests on the primary election ballot for voters in south Pierce County. The other one, open only to voters in the district, is for South Pierce Fire and Rescue Commissioner.

The Pierce County auditor’s office mailed ballots last Friday to voters, who have until Aug. 1 – the last day of the election –to mail them back or deposit them in official dropboxes. Registered voters who don’t receive a ballot by July 21 should contact the county elections department at 253-798-8683 or, said Auditor Julie Anderson, who oversees elections.

The race for Port Commissioner Position 1 is supposed to be a two-candidate affair between John McCarthy and Eric Holdeman because the third candidate who filed for the office in May, Jim Jensen, later announced he was dropping out after reportedly insensitive and offensive comments he made online via Twitter became known publicly.

But Jensen didn’t withdraw his candidacy in time to have his name removed from the ballot, so his name is still there and he technically could advance to the general election in November if he has one of the top two vote totals in the primary.

The winner in November will replace Commissioner Connie Bacon, who isn’t seeking re-election.

McCarthy is trying to return to the commission, where he served frm 1983 to 1992. He also, starting in 1992, was an elected judge (Pierce County Superior and District courts) before retiring in 2014. His wife, state Auditor Pat McCarthy, is a former Pierce County Executive.

Holdeman, who once worked for the port as its security director, is running a second time for Position 1. He lost in 2013 to Bacon. Holdeman now is the director of the Pacific Northwest Economic Region Center for Regional Disaster Resilience, which works with governments on projects related emergency preparedness and response.

The Port of Tacoma collects property taxes throughout Pierce County and is a source of economic development and business for the county and Washington.

South Pierce Fire and Rescue

Commissioner Daniel Morris, who has held the Position 4 seat since 2011, has two opponents in their race for a six-year term –Jody Westing, a nurse supervisor for CHI Franciscan Health, and Alan Simmons, a former career firefighter. One will be eliminated in the primary, with the other two facing off in the general election this fall.

The areas served by South Pierce Fire, and where voters have a say in the commissioner race, include areas outside Eatonville’s town limits, Clear Lake, Ohop Lake, La Grande, Roy, Lacamas, Harts Lake and McKenna.


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