Democratic challenger Peter Goldmark claims incumbent Republican Lands Commissioner Doug Sutherland has taken care of the people who have contributed $600,000 toward Sutherland’s campaign.
For Immediate Release: Monday, October 6, 2008
Contact: Peter Goldmark (206) 447-4169
Goldmark Launches First Television Commercials of Lands Commissioner Campaign
Ads focus on steep slope clear-cut logging and back room land deals; common thread is Republican Sutherland’s rewards to large special interest contributors
Meanwhile, those same special interests have amassed nearly $600,000 in special fund to bail out embattled incumbent
SEATTLE—Okanogan rancher Peter Goldmark, Democratic candidate for Commissioner of Public Lands, today kicked off advertising in the competitive race to serve as manager of Washington’s 5 million acres of forest, shoreline, grazing and aquatic resources.
The advertising, running on cable channels throughout Washington, focus on two of the issues highlighted by Goldmark throughout the campaign: DNR failure to enforce rules that could have limited the devastating landslides that impacted Lewis County last December, and a well publicized land deal where 320 acres of state forest were traded to a longtime developer ally of Sutherland in exchange for a parking lot in Des Moines.
The common link, says Goldmark, is that both ads highlight how Republican Sutherland rewards large contributors to his campaigns and a political action committee that operates on his behalf.
"Follow the money, and you can see where Doug Sutherland’s priorities lie," said Goldmark. "He turned the other way while his largest corporate contributor clear cut miles of steep slopes—in Lewis County and elsewhere—and when wealthy developers come looking for sweetheart land deals, he is willing to bypass public input to assure a good deal for his friends."
The problem notes Goldmark, isn’t just the loss of the lands, but the local jobs and recreation associated with those lands.
"I’ve made a point of saying throughout this campaign that I view the role of Lands Commissioner as a protector of the public trust—and that means protecting rural jobs, protecting public access to traditional recreation lands, protecting school funding derived from resource use, and other benefits," said Goldmark, who has run his family’s 8000 acre wheat and cattle ranch for more than 35 years.
The ads, while similar in theme, differ in style. On ad features stark images of the clear cut hillsides with Washington residents describing the scene. The Ad ends with Goldmark surrounded by people describing his philosophy for land management.
The second ad was shot in the actual drug store parking lot now owned by the people of Washington. In a humorous take on a serious subject, volunteers are posed as traditional users of the land: a logger, a family of hikers, and a father and son fly fishing—clearly out of place in a parking lot.
"We wanted to show the ridiculousness of Sutherland’s actions," said Goldmark. "The Lands Commissioner first and foremost must be a steward of the public trust, and that means protecting lands for use now—and into the future. It’s not a Commissioner of Public Parking Lots."
Goldmark has outraised his opponent in direct funds, but in keeping with the themes of the advertising, the timber industry and other interests have placed nearly $600,000 into a political action committee for the benefit of Sutherland’s campaign. Weyerhaeuser, the company allowed to clear cut the Lewis County lands, put another $100,000 into the fund just last month.
"The special interests are repaying Doug for years of allowing them free reign," said Goldmark. "It’s exactly the problem we face as a state, and nationwide: when Republicans get too cozy with industry—whether Wall St or right here at home—the public is left paying the bill."
For his part, Goldmark says that when elected he will be straightforward and fair to the traditional industries, but he will require appropriate accountability and oversight.
"I’ve made protection of jobs—and creating clean technology careers—a fundamental point of my campaign," said Goldmark. "All I ask is that we make decisions that are in the best long term interest of taxpayers, the economy, and future generations."
Peter Goldmark for Public Lands Commissioner