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Tollefson, Roth and Townsend pick up endorsements from the Sierra Club
The Washington State Chapter of the Sierra Club has announced it will endorse candidates Val Tollefson, Wayne Roth and Roger Townsend for the Bainbridge Island City Council.
“This is an important local election and there seems to be substantial differences in the philosophies and approaches to local government between opposing candidates in each of the three council races that could have real repercussions for our future,” said Erika Shriner, a local Sierra Club leader.
“We believe that local residents care deeply about the natural beauty of our island and safeguarding our local environment. We are extremely fortunate to have a candidate in each race who has shown a sincere commitment to ensuring a healthy environmental future for Bainbridge Island,” she said.
Tollefson, a lawyer, is running for the North Ward, Position 7 seat on the Bainbridge council. His opponent is Richard "Dick" Haugan, an advertising consultant.
Townsend, also an attorney, is campaigning for the South Ward, District 3 seat, and is squaring off against Dee McComb, a real estate settlement professional.
Roth is seeking the Central Ward, Position 5 seat against opponent Arlene Buetow. Roth is the general manager of KUOW Public Radio, and Buetow is a former utility manager and current chairwoman of the city’s Utility Advisory Committee.
Shriner said the Sierra Club’s endorsement process involves a rigorous questionnaire and interview. Choices must also be approved at the state level.
In its announcement of the endorsements, the Sierra Club recalled Tollefson's work as a board member of the Bainbridge Island Land Trust for six years; he served as its president for two.
The organization said Tollefson had shown himself to be a hands-on supporter of protecting the local and regional environment; 55 acres of land were saved from development during Tollefson's tenure with the land trust and he also played a major role in connecting the parts of the Grand Forest. Tollefson has also been an active member of LightHawk, which has played a significant role in land conservation and environmental protection.
The Sierra Club said Townsend has an established record of championing environmental causes, much of it through his legal work.
He was the founder of RAiSE, which sought to hold Puget Sound Energy accountable for expansion of the electric capacity on Bainbridge Island and educate the public about the alternatives to capacity expansion, and the organization also noted that Townsend has worked to promote mass transit and is an active supporter of increasing safe bike travel on Bainbridge Island.
In endorsing Roth, the Sierra Club noted his work to expand news coverage on environmental issues, including his co-founding of EarthFix, a regional public media environmental reporting collaboration that is heard by thousands of listeners each week. The organization also recalled Roth's participation on the West Sound Advisory Committee during the planning and development of IslandWood.
Currently, he is working in support of a grant for Bainbridge portions of the Sound to Olympics Trail-Highway 301 corridor enhancement project.
“We feel confident that these three candidates if elected will help the city develop sound and fact-based environmental policy," Shriner said.
"This is particularly important as the Seattle area — which is the sixth fastest growing city in the country — brings new growth pressure to our island,” she said. “Bainbridge Island can be proud of its history as a city which actively cares about its special environment. This election may very well determine whether or not that continues.”
The Sierra Club was founded in 1892 and is the nation’s largest environmental organization. There are more than 1,000 Sierra Club supporters on Bainbridge.