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April 4, 2020

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Former BPA employee to seek utility board seat

Chipman to challenge incumbent Malinowski

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:

A new candidate has entered the race for the Clark Public Utilities Board of Commissioners, District 1 seat.

Judy Chipman has announced her plans to run against incumbent Commissioner Jim Malinowski.

Chipman just a few months ago retired from a 16-year career at the Bonneville Power Administration.

For the last four years of her work there, she managed supply chain contracting organization. She claims that work gave her “a deep knowledge of the industry” interacting with contractors who help the BPA obtain property access rights in order to maintain the BPA transmission lines and substations.

“I am trained and skilled in negotiations and engaging in difficult conversations where differences are resolved and people can reach agreement on pertinent issues,” Chipman said in a news release.

Should she be elected, Chipman said, she doesn’t want to change anything at the utility. But changes in the electricity market in the Western United States have put financial pressure on the BPA, and Chipman said she expects it to pass increase costs onto Clark Public Utilities and other utilities. She said she believes her past experience will benefit the utility if and when that happens.

“It’s a very well-run utility — very well run — employees are happy, clients are happy and I want to continue that,” she said. “Bonneville is going to be cramped and it feels like a time of rising rates in the next couple years and I’m hoping my knowledge of that kind of thing will help the commission.”

Chipman has also served on the Columbia Credit Union Board of Directors for about 10 years and is a member of its supervisory committee. She is also a lifetime resident of Clark County.

Utility commissioners serve a six-year term. Malinowski was first elected in 2012. He announced his plan to run for re-election earlier this month.

He spent more than 30 years at Pacific Gas & Electric in a variety of roles. He also was the power utilities technology instructor for Clark College for eight years.

The utility’s commission sets policy, approves annual budgets, establishes rates, approves major purchases and investments, and selects a general manager.

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