Thursday, March 31, 2022

Randall announces run for second term as Jefferson County PUD Commissioner

Local community organizer and renewable energy advocate Jeff Randall will seek a second term as commissioner of the Jefferson County Public Utility District (PUD) for District 1, representing the Port Townsend area.

“Over the past 6 years, the PUD has grown and improved in many ways,” Randall said in his announcement.  “I would be honored to serve another term as your representative to the PUD Board.”

Randall, a 25-year Jefferson County resident and a native of Washington State, resides in Port Townsend with his 13-year-old son Soren.  He moved here in 1997 to take a job with the planning department of the City of Port Townsend, where he rose to serve as the Building and Community Development Director.

Randall holds a law degree from the University of Washington and worked as a city and county land use planner for 13 years before entering the renewable energy industry at the end of 2006. For 11 years, he was employed as a solar system designer for Power Trip Energy, a local photovoltaics installation company, before being elected to the PUD board in 2016.  

“I ran for office because I was concerned about the PUD’s performance after it assumed provision of electrical services from Puget Sound Energy (PSE) in 2013,”a said Randall.  “I am glad to report that the PUD’s situation has improved dramatically. Our finances are solid and our financial audits are clean.  Our customer service is better and power outages are shorter and less frequent than they were with PSE.  We now have the capacity to take on important projects to help our local economy, like building a new water tank in Quilcene, operating the tri-area sewer system once it is completed, and providing high speed fiber broadband throughout the county.”   

Over the past year the PUD has obtained  $23 million in state and federal funding to build high speed fiber internet infrastructure for Jefferson County residents and additional state and federal funds have been obtained for water infrastructure and aenergy efficiency programs.

“I try to bring a spirit of collaboration, curiosity, and creative problem-solving to my work as Commissioner,” reported Randall.  “We are a rural county with limited local funding.  We can only address complex problems by working together.  If re-elected I will continue to work hard to collaborate with other agency partners to make sure we continue to be successful now and into the future.”

The climate crisis is the ultimate complex problem.  “The power we receive from the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) is 95% carbon free. To reduce our local greenhouse gas emissions, we must use more of that clean electricity to replace the fossil fuels that now heat our buildings, run our machines, and fuel our transportation system.  Ensuring our local grid can deliver this additional needed electricity will be a significant challenge I look forward to tackling.” 

Randall has also been an active community volunteer, leading two successful voter-approved bond campaigns in 2015 and 2016.  The first was a $3.6 million City bond to improve Mountain View Commons, once a school and now home to the Port Townsend Food Bank, City police department, and Olympic Peninsula Y facilities.  The second was the Port Townsend School District’s $40.9 million bond to replace the aging Grant Street elementary school with the new Salish Coast pre-K through fifth grade school.  Both measures passed with over 70% voter approval.

Randall says, if re-elected, he will continue to bring that level of community engagement and vision for the future to the PUD.  “One of my current areas of focus is affordable housing,” says Randall.  “The PUD and many other employers cannot hire new employees because of the limited availability of workforce housing. We need an “all-hands on deck” approach to address this problem.”  

“The PUD belongs to all Jefferson County citizens. I want to use this opportunity to continue to share my vision for the ways in which an effectively run PUD can make our communities stronger and more resilient,” Randall said.