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FD 38 Commissioner candidates discuss issues
When current Fire Protection District 38 commissioner Jerry
Prior decided not to run again, it left something of a gap in the electoral
Prior, a North Bend businessman, decided it was time to
concentrate on both his family and his business.
As a result of his decision, two local residents stepped into the
race as write-in candidates for the commission seat; they are
former Snoqualmie councilman and mayor Darwin Sukut, and long-time
professional firefighter Ronald Pedee.
Both men recently agreed to talk with the Snoqualmie Valley
Record concerning their candidacy and their interests in Fire District 38.
Sukut is retired employee of the City of Seattle Engineering
Department and 30-year resident of the Valley. He previously served as a
member of the Snoqualmie City Council, from 1978 to 1981 and again
from 1986 to 1987, and was mayor of Snoqualmie from 1982 to 1985.
He also represented the city with the Puget Sound Council of
Governments and spent six years as chairman of the Water Resources Committee.
He stated, "Like the majority that voted, I want to see a regional or
consolidated fire department for the entire Valley. I think service would
be improved if we had a local district.
"I admit there is a lot to learn (about the commissioner's
position), but I am willing to give it a try and
see what I can do. I'm sure I can make a contribution.
"I will make myself available if elected. That goes with the
territory; whenever you're elected, you have to make yourself available to the
constituents. Also, I'm retired, which gives me an advantage."
Pedee, a resident of unincorporated North Bend, is a
career firefighter with 27 years experience. He currently serves as deputy
chief with the Bellevue Fire Department, where he commands the local
operations bureau. He is a graduate of Central Washington University
in Ellensburg and has graduated from three courses at the National
Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Md.
He stated, "With my experience and education in the fire service,
I thought I had more to offer the district, which is why I entered
the race. I care about this community; it's our home now, and has
been since 1994.
"I care about my family and place high value on medical
and emergency medical protection. I have experience with many of
the fire service leaders in this area and have a familiarity with the
nature and quality of those agencies. As a consumer now, I would see my
experience _ particularly in fire service management _ as a bonus.
"A consolidated fire department came up last winter, when Fire
District 38 had to make a decision as to who they would contract
with. At that time it was my assessment that the known quantity _
Eastside Fire and Rescue _ was the safer and better decision for the
commissioners to make. With respect to the future, I'm a citizen here, and
I'm going to get this service for myself and my family. I want the very
best the district can afford, in whatever form it takes.
"I believe I have the credentials to make a competent assessment
as to what is the best deal for the money."