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Shelton Mason County Journal
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Mason County Journal
October 16, 2014     Shelton Mason County Journal
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October 16, 2014

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Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014 - Mason County Journal - Page C-5 Farmer, Komen compete for commission sent By GORDON WEEKS gordon@masoncoun com Rarely does a public utility district race dominate a newspaper's letters to the editor pages during a general elec- tion. But for weeks, the contest between Mason PUD No. 3 Commissioner Tom Farmer and his opponent John Komen has generated impassioned praise and finger pointing about the past, present and future of the district, especially when it comes to the new Johns Prairie Operations Center and electricity rates. Mason PUD 3 is a community-owned and governed utility that provides elec- tricity to more than 32,000 customers, and provides wholesale telecommu- nication services. The three-member board establishes policy, reviews op- erations and approves plans, budgets and expenditures• Farmer has served as a Mason PUD No. 3 commissioner representing dis- trict 2 since 2008, and is the commis- sion's president• He has lived in Mason County for more than 40 years, and has operated an oyster farm for 30 years. Farmer said the commission's great- Farmer est achievements during his tenure have been construct- ing the new facil- ity on Johns Prairie Road, and working to keep electricity rates low. The greatest chal- lenge facing PUD 3, he added, is staying in compliance with Initiative 937-- also known as the Clean Energy Initiative -- which requires that at least 15 percent of the district's electric- ity comes from clean, renewable sources by 2020. Farmer said a er.com or email electtomfarmer@gmail.com AT A GLANCE: Mason County PUD 3 District 2 Tom Farmer Nonpartisan office Incumbent For more information, go to electtomfarrr John Komen Nonpartisan office Challenger For more information, go to johnkomen.e stints as a disc jockey at KAYO 'adio; anchorman and news editor for KO- MO-TV in Seattle; a news correspon- dent for ABC-TV News in New York City; a news anchorman for KING-TV in Seattle; and chief editorial writer and eventually editor of The (Tacoma) News Tribune. Komen said he was prompted to run for the commission while regularly attending commission meetings four years ago and being astounded by the PUD's "huge expenditures," including the construction of the new facility on Johns Prairie Road• Komen said the qualities he brings to the position include "my background, my history, my career, my education, my experience in business•" ,m or email jdikomen@msn.com The challenges for the district in- clude "how to control costs and how you Komen keep expenses down" so when looming rate hikes happen, they can be han- skill that he brings to the position is dled, Komen said. "my business experience. I like to go to The commission position "has al- the bottom line of the balance sheet." ways been considered a minor office," The commissioner also said he feels Komen said. "I consider it a low-profile "balanced" because he has a good rela- office because it's not minor." tionship with customers and people in The job ]s important because the the power industry, commission determines how much cus- As for his differences with his oppo- tomers will pay for their rates, he said. nent, "there is a clear distinction: I'm Komen said he and his wife Diane, future focused," Farmer said. who live on Mason Lake, are fully fi- "I'm looking toward challenges in nancing his campaign, and are turning the future, and I think he's kind of down campaign contributions. He has mired in the past," he said. been campaigning door-to-door, which Komen, 77, worked as a journalist he finds "a very warming, gratifying for 40 years. His credentials include experience."