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Sequim woman wins conservation seat

A landslide vote has placed a retired teacher from Sequim onto a board that supervises natural resource conservation in Clallam County, ousting incumbent Bob Forde.

Marilyn Pollock will not occupy the Clallam Conservation District supervisory board seat until the results are certified by the district’s state affiliate in May.

“I’m thrilled,” Pollock said of the initial results. “A lot of people worked real hard with me to get the community involved in this election.”

A total of 384 votes were cast in Sequim and Port Angeles on Feb. 26, with Pollock taking 263, or 68.5 percent. Forde received 114 votes, or 29.7 percent. The third candidate, Vincent Cooke, received seven votes.

The district required voters to be registered in Clallam County. Most of those who turned out, 284 people, voted in Sequim.

“One of my main goals is already happening, getting people to come out and vote and recognize the importance of the Conservation District,” Pollock said.

In past years, the number of voters seemed to depend on whether or not there were challengers, according to district administrative assistant Janell Kiphart.

In 2007, there were but 46 votes cast in the county, all of which went to the unchallenged Joe Murray. In 2006, 804 votes were cast among three candidates, with Don Hatler emerging as the victor.

In 2005, when Bob Forde won his three-year term on the board, 78 votes were cast, mostly between Forde and Ben Smith, one of two board members who later was appointed to the board by the state. Nash Huber is the second appointed member. Three board members are selected by election and two are appointed by the state-level affiliate.

For more information on Clallam Conservation District, visit its Web site at clallam.scc.wa.gov or call 452-1912. The state-level conservation commission can be found at www.scc.wa.gov, or by calling 360-407-6200.



Plans for position

Pollock wants to get out better publicity of what the local conservation district does.

“I want the public to realize we are a cooperation-based group that works with farmers, landowners and other agencies to improve their operations and improve the impact to the resources they are propagating or that are in their vicinity,” Pollock said. “It is just as important that people who are not farmers understand what we are doing because ensuring local products supports our economy, our way of life and our health.”

She said she is ready to help local vegetable farmers, tree farmers, fish hatcheries, livestock owners, creameries and the like, even tapping into Olympia contacts.

“I know our representatives and our senators personally, so whatever the local conservation district and state commission forward onto the Legislature, I feel I can be a voice to advocate for the best results possible,” Pollock said. “I feel I can get the ear of our higher-ups and urge them to label some agricultural and natural resource issues as top priorities.”

Although the race was nonpartisan, both of the leading candidates have been active in local political parties.

Forde has made a name for himself as a conservative activist, speaking out against new government programs that raise taxes or threaten property rights. His wife, Sue Forde, is president of the Clallam County Republicans.

Pollock is past president of the Clallam County Democratic Club and a former committeewoman with the state Legislature.

Pollock and her husband, John, moved to Sequim in 1997. She is a retired teacher who spent time in front of classrooms from elementary school to college.

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