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Posted on Oct 15, 2018

Getting to know the candidates: Judy Wilson

The General Election is Nov. 6. This candidate supplied a photo and answers to a set of questions posed by the Post-Register.

Judy Wilson
Candidate for Grant County PUD Commissioner, District 1, a six-year term, nonpartisan.

Judy Wilson

Why are you running for office?
I have been a resident of Grant County for over 25 years. The PUD is the biggest asset the citizens and property owners of Grant County possess. The PUD has lost focus of its primary responsibility to provide reliable, low cost electricity to the residents and agricultural interests of Grant County. I have the experience and desire to bring the focus back to the people, while still providing a reasonable competitive rate to industrial customers.

What are the largest issues to deal with in the office?
The $1.3 billion in debt is of major concern. The debt has gone up $500 million in the last 10 years. This is a debt of about $26,000 for each meter. Interest alone costs the ratepayer $50 million a year. If a citizen wanted to borrow from a bank and had a 60% debt to asset ratio, I doubt they would get the loan.
I question the validity of using the Cost of Service study as the sole source for rate setting. Because of our unique ag-based economy and vast distance between towns in Grant County it is not equitable. All utilities do a COSA to use as a guide for management to set rates, but do not use it as sole source. Neither Chelan nor Douglas use this method for rate setting.
Since getting more involved I have become amazed at the number of jobs the PUD is giving to outside contractors. They have done away with training and apprenticeship programs for young people. We need to be hiring and training local young people so they can stay in the area and take pride in the PUD.

How would your service in office affect the Quincy Valley?
The citizens of the Quincy Valley took the risk and paid to build the dams and the extensive electrical system initially. They own the PUD along with the other residents and agricultural land owners of Grant County, and their interests should be served first.

What are your top qualifications for the office?
I have worked in the retail equipment dealership business for over 40 years. I have managed and grown multi location dealerships in two states. In 1989, I was appointed the first female store manager in North America for a J I Case Company owned store. I came to Moses Lake in 1996 to manage Central Machinery Sales. I grew that store from one location with an agricultural machinery contract into four locations in Washington and Oregon with both ag and construction equipment contracts. My experience shows that I am not against growth as I have been labeled, and I definitely recognize the importance of reliable, fast internet service. Every machinery dealership depends on the internet to survive.
Prior to moving to Moses Lake, I lived in the Spokane Valley. While living there from 1983 to 1996 I served on the board of Vera Water and Power, the publicly owned district providing irrigation and domestic water and electricity to much of the Spokane Valley. I was made a lifetime member of Northwest Public Power Association when I resigned from the Vera Board to move to Moses Lake.
My management and accounting experience, together with my Vera Board experience, makes me uniquely qualified to bring a new perspective to the Grant County PUD commission.

What else would you like Quincy Valley voters to know?
I want the voters to know that the PUD has done a lot of things right over the years. They have built a Cadillac system that is the backbone of the economy in Grant County. The wisdom and forethought of the early pioneer farmers of the area to have the vision and guts to accomplish building this electric and water system is nothing short of amazing. Grant County does need industrial growth and jobs to continue to grow, but it cannot risk losing the original purpose of providing reliable, low cost electricity to the residents and agriculture interests in the county.

What is the best way for voters to contact you?
I can be reached at
Website: www.judywilsonpud.com
Facebook: judy wilson for pud #1
Phone: (509) 750 2211