Getting to know the candidates: Patti Paris
The General Election is Nov. 6. This candidate supplied a photo and answers to a set of questions posed by the Post-Register.
Candidate for Grant County PUD Commissioner, District B, four-year term, nonpartisan.
Why are you running for office?
I am running because I wish to fulfill my social sense of responsibility to participate in meaningful ways to help our county remain strong, prosperous and growing. Naturally, it makes sense for me to focus on places to serve in which I possess the greatest knowledge and experience. My profession in the accounting and finance field, my 10 year experience as a PUD employee, and my most recent 15 year career as the chief financial officer for a large locally owned corporation associated with the food industry have made me well suited to serve as a commissioner of our PUD. With continued skepticism about the cost of service numbers used to base rates and concern regarding debt, I believe we need my expertise in those fields to help us understand their significance and how they are viewed and used. I believe I bring unique skills and perspective needed to make our board one that is well positioned to tackle challenging and difficult issues today and tomorrow. I understand as well as anyone the significant role the PUD plays and the advantages it provides to help make us all successful.
What are the largest issues to deal with in the office?
Sustaining the lowest possible rates without sacrificing quality of service is the primary responsibility. To do this requires receiving revenue from both county customers and markets outside the county. Recent changes in wholesale markets (customers outside the county) have presented new and unprecedented challenges. New legislation and competition have added complexity to the market. Selling our power in the wholesale market has always been paramount towards keeping our rates low. We need to be strategic in our planning for future power sales opportunities. Also, fair and equitable rate setting for county customers remains a large issue as often there are opposing needs which must be weighed and balanced. My philosophy is that it is incumbent upon the commission to set rate policies that are supportive of our base (residential and agricultural) but is not oppressive to diversity in new and larger industries who offer future stable revenue streams to the PUD as well as offering new opportunity to communities. An ongoing issue for the PUD is also the continuance and completion of the fiber network, when to complete and how to pay for and support it.
How would your service in office affect the Quincy Valley?
I applaud Quincy Valley’s ability to sustain a very strong agricultural base while also inviting industrial customers such as data centers to locate in their area. These larger customers bring an investment which increases the tax base and provides a new variety of jobs. I believe that diversity in any community will make it stronger in the long term. Therefore, I believe it would be harmful to impose policies or rates that would be damaging to either sector. I am also supportive of doing whatever we can do to help organic growth in each community to open new local small to mid-size businesses to provide better services to residents.
What are your top qualifications for the office?
My education and experience in accounting and finance is unique to the residing commission. I had a 40-year career focused on understanding financial data and fighting for the financial success of my employer. That along with my career as a leader and decision maker makes me a strong candidate. I bring unique work experience including employment at the PUD throughout the 1990s. I bring a perspective obtained from both ag related and non-ag industries. I have served on the AWB (Association of Washington Businesses) as a board member and am currently serving on the AAA Washington Auto club board of directors and the BBCC foundation board. Also, as an officer of Columbia Colstor, Inc., I served on their board for 15 years and understand well the role of a board member. I’m a lifelong resident and hope to remain local for the duration of my life.
What else would you like Quincy Valley voters to know?
I would appeal to voters to consider that they, as citizens of Grant County, have a responsibility to elect a non-partisan and representative board who represents the interests of all customers. By electing my opponent, you are electing someone who has the same background and interests as three residing commissioners. It is healthy and right to elect people of differing experience, education, gender, and perspectives. I appreciate that Quincy Valley can embrace change as change is an inevitable consequence to growth.
What is the best way for voters to contact you?
Cellphone 509 989-5964, or email me at email@example.com