By ERIC STEVICK
Kathy Vaughn, president of the Snohomish County PUD commission, had a comfortable lead over challenger Tim Harrigan in early election returns Tuesday night.
"I’m really pleased with the absentee count," Vaughn said, reviewing the results.
The seat, representing essentially areas from southwestern Everett to the King County line and west of I-5, was the lone vacancy on the three-member board. The position is for six years and pays $1,300 a month.
The PUD provides electricity to more than 231,000 residential customers, more than 22,000 commercial users and nearly 100 industrial firms. It also provides water to about 13,000 customers.
Tuesday’s general election covered all of Snohomish County and Camano Island.
Six years ago, Vaughn was the challenger, defeating two-term incumbent Matt Dillion.
It was easier to run as an incumbent than a challenger, but "I think each race holds its own unique distinctions," Vaughn said.
She said policies she supported have helped keep rate increases below inflation and expanded low-income and senior assistance along with conservation and renewable energy programs.
Vaughn, a Lynnwood mortgage broker, co-owns a construction business with her husband.
Harrigan is a licensed engineer, land surveyor and state-certified manager of water utilities. He is co-owner of CHS Engineers Inc., a consulting engineering company with 28 employees, and has worked his entire career as a utility engineer with local, state and federal governments.
The PUD race could easily be overlooked on a ballot with presidential, gubernatorial and other high-profile races but, in many ways, it has a major effect on the lives of the citizenry, Vaughn said.
"If anything is going to affect your pocketbook, it’s the PUD race," Vaughn said, noting everyone gets a power bill every two months.
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