For many years, seats on the Snohomish County Public Utility Disrict Board of Commissioners were perhaps powerful, but hardly electrifying. All that changed in late 2000 and early 2001 with the West Coast energy crisis which brought skyrocketing power costs and has come to be labeled with one word: Enron.
A variety of market conditions put Snohomish County PUD in the thick of things and quickly rewired those board chairs.
Kathy Vaughn, the incumbent from Dist. 2 and current board chair is seeking re-election, challenged in the Sept. 19 Primary by Eric Teegarden, of Mountlake Terrace, and Michael Plunkett, an Edmonds City Councilman.
The top two vote-getters from ballots scheduled to be mailed Thursday, Aug. 31, will move on to the Nov. 7 general election. For the Primary, voters would be best served by keeping Vaughn and Plunkett for the November runoff.
Vaughn is after her third, six-year term, and for better or worse, has weathered unprecedented upheavals in the energy game. With hindsight being 20-20, Vaughn acknowledges that the Enron contracts look bad now, but the alternatives looked much worse in those literally potentially dark days. With more federal influences on local power rates on the horizon, Vaughn’s experience could be valuable.
Plunkett’s time on Edmonds’ city council makes him the logical choice to move on to the November ballot. Plunkett has served through some divisive issues in Edmonds, including the recent building heights discussions. Whether a plus or minus, Plunkett didn’t waiver in his vision, which ultimately won the day.
Teegarden, a former candidate for Mountlake Terrace City Council, is passionate about his issues and forceful in presentation. He cares and has the energy to make himself knowledgeable. However, those traits are shared by his opponents and their experience should give them the nod on Sept. 19.