More than 100 people came out for a forum late Monday in Olympia to hear candidates for the state’s commissioner of public lands. The position, although acknowledged at the forum as “down ballot,” is in charge of deciding how to protect Washington’s natural resources and provide funding for school construction. It also is in charge of containing wildfires.
Incumbent Commissioner Peter Goldmark is not running for re-election.
Five of the seven candidates on the ballot — Mary Verner, Karen Porterfield, Steve Nielson, Steve McLaughlin and Hilary Franz — fielded questions for 90 minutes at the forum organized by the League of Women Voters at Olympia High School. Dave Upthegrove and John Stillings did not attend.
During the forum, the candidates each had one minute to answer questions they weren’t given in advance. They also had an additional 45 seconds to challenge other candidates.