Sue Kuehl Pederson is running for Commissioner of Public Lands This is the person who is responsible for ensuring that all of our public lands is managed properly. Pederson has years of experience in natural resources.
Pederson's experience is vast. "My 3+ decades of natural resource management includes fish passage research at dams (Army Corps of Engineers & BioSonics, Inc), US Observer on Japanese fishing boats in Gulf of Alaska (UW/NOAA), commercial fisheries harvest manager for all of Puget Sound (WA Dept Fish & Wildlife), habitat manager for Kitsap County (WA Dept Fish & Wildlife), permit liaison with 12 agencies during the construction of new hydropower plant (Seattle City Light), Secretary to Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission (Seattle City Light), senior power analyst (Seattle City Light) and Power Manager (Grays Harbor PUD)," said Pederson.
Pederson is a retiree, she understands that retiring doesn't always mean sitting back, she continued, "I'm leaving retirement to run for this position because, after living in Washington my entire life, I simply do not accept the catastrophic fires we've experienced the past 6-8 years as the 'new normal.' These fires are not normal. My opponent has a 20-year plan to reduce the excess fuels that have accumulated while our forests were left unmanaged during 30 years of failed recovery for the endangered northern spotted owl. I agree that excess fuels must be removed. My opponent wants this work done by state employees, through taxpayers dollars. I want to recreate private sector logging jobs and opportunities for livestock grazing."
Pederson also understands the dire need our lands are in, from forest fires to flooding, she stated, "More urgently, after 30 years of neglecting land management, we have lost clearings and logging roads that formerly served to hinder wildfires and provide fire fighting access. For a quick, emergency solution, I propose old-fashioned, plowed fire breaks around towns, ranches, and segments of forests, so that by 2021, we can get a handle on wildfires spreading out of control."
One of the major issues in Washington State is the mess of our salmon, they have decreased in population. "My concern about diminishing salmon populations ties in with my childhood, having grown up at a salmon hatchery in southern Washington," she said. "I support increasing our hatchery production to 100% of capacity. Much of the decline in salmon has occurred since our fisheries managers focused on wild populations and drastically reduced hatchery output. For robust gene pools, we need to cross-breed wild and hatchery fish (which have very similar DNA anyway)."
Washington needs additional power resources, Pederson has an understanding of the different resources, she stated, "My strong background in power management informs my opinion that wind generation is super expensive and very difficult to integrate for 'load following' (i.e., delivering power to customers when they use it). I do not support more wind generation. On the other hand, I am a strong advocate for our hydropower dams, which also provide the valuable purposes of flood control, navigation, irrigation and recreation."
This is Pederson's first run in state politics. "My opponent wanted to run for governor this year, and stockpiled $900,000+ over the past 4 years, mostly from corporations," Pederson said. "She will use a second term to bolster her political goals. I just want to manage our lands and reduce or stop catastrophic fires."
Sue Kuehl Pederson is new to state politics but she is definitely not new to the natural resources in our state of the need to manage them correctly. After the wildfires we saw this year, the need to manage our lands is more important than ever.