Goodwin-Miller

Ken Goodwin (left) and Andrew Miller

Ken Goodwin and Andrew Miller are facing off in the race for a seat on the Skagit Public Utility District Board of Commissioners.

The position is being vacated by longtime commissioner Al Littlefield.

Goodwin is a retired certified public accountant who has been a Port of Anacortes commissioner since 2018. Miller is a CEO and farmer who is running for his first political office.

Miller won the August primary and Goodwin was a close second.

Goodwin, 73, said he would bring experience to the PUD that the current board lacks.

“I’ve got a myriad of experiences, not only in the technical side in water, but with governance,” he said. “I’m the only candidate who has both. The existing commissioners have government experience but not a breadth of water experience.”

Goodwin previously served 17 years as commissioner for the Woodinville Water District and 12 years as finance director for the Alderwood Water District, which he noted is the state’s largest water district.

He said he understands all aspects of PUDs, from how they are managed to how they provide safe, reliable and clean water.

While a commissioner for the Woodinville Water District, Goodwin said he oversaw the largest transfer of a water right in the state’s history.

“I think a commissioner with experience and an understanding of the issues will have an edge and work cooperatively with other agencies,” he said.

Goodwin said he was previously involved in several cases at the state Supreme Court, including participation in a lawsuit against King County to protect farmland of Sammamish Valley, and a challenge to the state Department of Revenue to change the way it taxed sewer customers. Both cases were won by unanimous decision, Goodwin said.

{p dir=”ltr”}”I think it sends a message to ratepayers that I am looking out for their interests,” he said.

{p dir=”ltr”}Miller, 45, grew up in Skagit County and now serves as CEO of Spinach Bus Ventures, a local company that owns Tulip Town and other agriculture-related businesses.

{p dir=”ltr”}Though he is a first-time candidate and has not worked for water districts, Miller said he has the experience and attributes to be a successful PUD commissioner.

{p dir=”ltr”}”The needs of the PUD are not bureaucratic; they are leadership,” he said. “They are community-based decisions because water touches everything. I’ve touched so many areas and had boots on the ground in so many of our communities.”

{p dir=”ltr”}He said issues such as water for farmers should be part of the PUD’s long-term strategy.

{p dir=”ltr”}”I think the PUD could be stepping forward in a much bigger way to provide certainty to farmers in terms of piped water and river water when it makes sense,” Miller said.

{p dir=”ltr”}He said the PUD has opportunities to support housing by lowering the costs of infrastructure development.

{p dir=”ltr”}Miller said the PUD should play a more active role in setting a message around water, and shift the conversation from scarcity to abundance.

{p dir=”ltr”}”I think water needs a champion in Skagit County,” he said. “... We need to not just try to plug the holes, and to optimize the opportunities.”

— Reporter Jacqueline Allison: jallison@skagitpublishing.com, 360-416-2145, Twitter: @Jacqueline_SVH

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