Thorough preparation and extensive community outreach have highlighted Julia Anderson's first venture into elective politics. Her list of supporters for Clark Public Utilities commissioner includes outgoing commissioner Carol Curtis, who is retiring after 30 years at the post, dozens of local elected officials in both political parties, Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt, former Vancouver Mayor Royce Pollard and local civic leaders Ed Lynch, Val Ogden and Jan and Steve Oliva.The Columbian joins that list and endorses Anderson as the top choice to become the first new voice on the commission in more than a decade. Her opponent, Jim Malinowski, possesses broad technical knowledge about public utilities. He has a strong background of work in the industry. But the role of a commissioner is to set policy; approve budgets; set electricity and water rates for 184,000 and 30,000 customers, respectively; and hire the utility's CEO. "It's to represent voters, not be the technical expert," Anderson accurately points out. Clark Public Utilities "has plenty of fine technical experts," and her job would be "to help the commission build on that record," she said.
Anderson also wants to enhance alternative energy research by partnering the utility with Washington State University Vancouver's engineering and computer science programs. She believes customer service could be improved even more by broadening the use of social media and online technology.
Anderson is a former Business editor at The Columbian. Our endorsement of her for utilities commissioner is based not on that record but on her recent efforts to generate an aggressive and engaging campaign. Anderson has immersed herself in issues research, and she's convincing constituents on the campaign trail that she's eager and more than capable to serve.
Malinowski is technology-savvy, but voters are not hiring an engineer or a plant supervisor. They're electing their own proxy for setting policy, and Anderson is the superior choice for that vital role.