Washington Conservation Voters announced their dual endorsement for Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands: Hilary Franz and Dave Upthegrove.
“The next Commissioner will play a vital role in reforming how the Department of Natural Resources can adapt Washington State’s priorities to reflect our changing world,” said Joan Crooks, CEO of Washington Conservation Voters. “We’ve rarely seen such an impressive field of candidates. Both Hilary Franz and Dave Upthegrove have shown the tireless leadership needed to bring a new standard of environmental excellence to the Department of Natural Resources.”
Hilary Franz: The current Futurewise Executive Director and former Bainbridge Island Councilwomen, brings 18 years of public lands and environmental experience to the Commissioner race. During her impressive career she has worked to protect the working families and communities that rely on forestry and farmland throughout Washington State. Franz is a former Washington Environmental Council Board member, has sat on the Puget Sound Salmon Recovery Council, and was appointed by the Governor to the Washington State Climate Action Team. She has worked on behalf of farming communities in every corner of the state from Skagit, Whatcom and Pierce to communities in Benton, Kittitas and Okanogan Counties.
Dave Upthegrove: A current King County Councilmember and former state legislator of South King County for 12 years, he has been a staunch environmental champion throughout his career. As a State Representative, Upthegrove served as the Chair of the House Environment Committee and was the 2011 Washington Conservation Voters Legislator of the Year. At every level of government, he has been a leader on environmental issues: defending the state’s landmark clean energy initiative I-937, spearheading the labor and environmental coalition in the house and standing against coal export proposals.
The state’s Department of Natural Resources has vast influence over Washington’s environmental future. Due to the pressures of climate change and a growing population, Washington’s 2 million acres of state-owned land face unprecedented difficulties. However, they also offer opportunity for solutions – from growing rural economies to absorbing more carbon with old trees. The next lands commissioner will have the chance to influence how sustainably state lands are managed and decide on leases on state-owned aquatic lands for the nation’s largest coal export terminal in Longview, WA.
“Washington has an opportunity to bring new life and leadership to the DNR,” said Shannon Murphy, President of Washington Conservation Voters. “With major shifts needed in the state’s approach to forestry management, rural land use and a unique opportunity to protect communities and waterways from the health and environmental costs of coal export, we are incredibly pleased to have two proven environmental champions to endorse.”
(Endorsements from Washington Conservation Voters in other races – including Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General– are available here.).