Doug Sutherland should administer state’s lands

With the state’s future heavily dependent on sound environmental leadership, the race for commissioner of public lands has drawn two heavyweight candidates.

Former Gov. Mike Lowry is the Democratic candidate. On the Republican side, the candidate is Doug Sutherland, Pierce County executive and former mayor of Tacoma.

Voters would do well to entrust the office to Doug Sutherland. It is a very narrow call based in part on the belief that Sutherland’s lengthy administrative experience may be what the office needs most at the moment.

The truth is, however, that both Lowry and Sutherland are highly qualified for the position. And Lowry, as a former governor, has proven that he is a capable administrator.

Lowry’s passion, though, probably tends toward the setting of policy. That was his primary work as a member of Congress before becoming governor. For voters who are dedicated to strong environmental policy in the administration of state trust lands, Lowry’s record may well be the deciding factor in how to vote. Lowry’s career has proven that he is committed to environmental protection. It’s less obvious, but just as true that he also is the kind of Democrat who works hard to make sure that economic development gains instead of suffers from environmental protection.

Sutherland has a solid environmental record of his own, including his cooperation in the regional process that has sought to protect salmon throughout Snohomish, King and Pierce counties. His views on environmental issues are considered strong and balanced by those who know him best in the Tacoma area. Sutherland points to the cleanup of Commencement Bay without major lawsuits as a model of how to protect the environment.

More importantly, Sutherland has made his career as an administrator. That could have particular importance for the next lands commissioner. The outgoing leader, Democrat Jennifer Belcher, has probably done a better job as a careful maker of good environmental policy than as a manager of a far-flung agency with 1,400 employees. Our guess is that the next commissioner will find greater management challenges than might be expected. If so, Sutherland’s experience would likely lead him to focus on the administrative challenges a bit more quickly than Lowry.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Opinion

The vessel Tonga Chief, a 10-year-old Singaporean container ship, is moored at the Port of Everett Seaport in November, 2023, in Everett. (Ryan Berry / The Herald file photo)
Editorial: Leave port tax issue for campaign, not the ballot

Including “taxing district” on ballot issue to expand the Port of Everett’s boundaries is prejudicial.

toon
Editorial cartoons for Wednesday, May 22

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

Burke: Torrent of lies doing what’s intended; wearing us down

When media outlets stop bothering to check the facts that leaves it to us to question the falsehoods.

Drivers could have helped limit mess from I-5 shutdown

While I was not involved in the I-5 northbound traffic backup on… Continue reading

Everett School District should allow graduates to wear regalia

My name is Lanie Thompson, and I am a current senior at… Continue reading

Making college affordable key to our future

The cost of attending college is prohibitively expensive. This barrier to entry… Continue reading

Snohomish County Councilmembers Nate Nehring, left, and Jared Mead, speaking, take turns moderating a panel including Tulip Tribes Chairwoman Teri Gobin, Stanwood Mayor Sid Roberts and Lynnwood Mayor Christine Frizzell during the Building Bridges Summit on Monday, Dec. 4, 2023, at Western Washington University Everett in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Editorial: Candidates, voters have campaign promises to make

Two county officials’ efforts to improve political discourse skills are expanding to youths and adults.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson speaks to a reporter as his 2024 gubernatorial campaign launch event gets underway in Seattle, on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023. ( Jerry Cornfield/Washington State Standard)
Editorial: Recruiting two Bob Fergusons isn’t election integrity

A GOP activist paid the filing fee for two gubernatorial candidates who share the attorney general’s name.

Foster parent abstract concept vector illustration. Foster care, father in adoption, happy interracial family, having fun, together at home, childless couple, adopted child abstract metaphor.
Editorial: State must return foster youths’ federal benefits

States, including Washington, have used those benefits, rather than hold them until adulthood.

Making adjustments to keep Social Security solvent represents only one of the issues confronting Congress. It could also correct outdated aspects of a program that serves nearly 90 percent of Americans over 65. (Stephen Savage/The New York Times) -- NO SALES; FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY WITH NYT STORY SLUGGED SCI SOCIAL SECURITY BY PAULA SPAN FOR NOV. 26, 2018. ALL OTHER USE PROHIBITED.
Editorial: Social Security’s good news? Bad news delayed a bit

Congress has a little additional time to make sure Social Security is solvent. It shouldn’t waste it.

Kristof: If slowing Gaza aid isn’t criminal, it’s unconscionable

The allegations against Israel’s Netanyahu center on Israel’s throttling of aid into a starving Gaza.

Editorial cartoons for Tuesday, May 21

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.