Two seek to unseat utility district incumbent

POULSBO — Three-term incumbent John Armstrong is facing two opponents in his bid to remain on as a commissioner for Kitsap Public Utility District 1. In the Aug. 17 primary, two candidates will prevail to face off on the November general election ballot.

The duties of the utility district are twofold: monitoring water resources and providing wholesale broadband services to internet providers in the county, which in turn offers those services, for a fee, to residents.

Commissioners serve six-year terms on a three-member board. It is a non-partisan office.

John Armstrong

Residence: Hansville

Current work: Kitsap Public Utility commissioner, 18 years.

Community service/involvement: Vice president and key member of the six-member Washington Public Utility District Association.

In his own words: “For the past 18 years as Kitsap Public Utility District Commissioner for District I have dedicated myself to insure the people of Kitsap County have sufficient water for our future needs. One of the Kitsap Public Utility District’s primary functions is to identify where we have water and how much of it is located there. The American Water Works Association has provided me with numerous study sessions on the topics of systems management, rate setting, district financing and budgeting. As the vice president of the six-member Washington Public Utility District Association team, I worked with the leaders of the state legislature and the Governors Office to pass the act permitting public utilities to provide wholesale broadband telecommunication services to Washington state.

In 2008, the AWWA awarded me the title of Certified Elected Water official and appointed me as the Northwest Member of the Public Officials Forum. This is an international group of 11 public officials that meet to resolve common problems. I also hold professional licenses, from the state of California as a professional engineer and registered engineer and have held engineering and facilities management positions for 30 years.”

Arlene Buetow

Residence: 20-year resident of Bainbridge Island.

Current work: Resigned as a project manager for local general contractor in July.

Community service/involvement: Current member, City of Bainbridge Island Utility Advisory Committee advising City Council on Water, Sewer and Storm Water Utility Issues; Board member of investor-owned Water Utility Association (a subchapter of the National Association of Water Companies).

In her own words: “I am running for KPUD commissioner because I want to re-focus their priorities to water resource planning for Kitsap County. As their charter has expanded to include wholesale high speed internet service, capital resources have naturally shifted to meet the intensive capital requirements of that build-out. While the broadband build-out is beneficial to our entire region, and will surely stimulate clean economic growth in our more rural communities, we cannot lose sight of the critical nature and value of our most essential water resources that KPUD has been chartered with preserving and protecting.

I also want to improve the transparency of the Public Utility District as a whole. I would move to have a schedule and agenda of all public meetings and minutes thereof be included on their website to encourage public participation in the decision making process. As your PUD commissioner, I will work to represent the issues that matter most to North Kitsap, and steward public dollars responsibly.”

Linda Gabriel

City/area of residence: Poulsbo since 1992

Current work position: Retired from Federal Civil Service early in 2006.

Community service/involvement: Founding member of the Kitsap County Council for Human Rights and a five-year member of the Equal Employment Committee for Keyport. She’s the current vice chair of her local partisan political party and a precinct committee officer.

In her own words: “Today we learn, sell products and services, do homework, interact with medical providers, keep up with news, tun our businesses, look for jobs … all on the internet.

Most of us need the internet.

If I am elected Kitsap Public Utility District commissioner, I will work to ensure that every business, every medical provider, and eventually, every household, in Kitsap County has access to high-speed internet service, with backup systems in place to shorten or even prevent outages, and with the ability to upload, as well as download, at high speeds.

Kitsap County does not have a large river bringing us water from high on the mountains. Every drop of water we get comes from the ground or from the sky. Politicians predict that the Puget Sound area will grow by about 1.4 million people by the year 2030. All of those people will use water.

We must continue to learn to conserve water inside our homes and businesses. I support the education program of the Kitsap Public Utility District.

As a PUD commissioner, I will work with the County Commissioners to coordinate growth with water supply.”

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