2016 Election Guide

Commissioner of Public Lands

Land commissioner hopefuls vary widely in backgrounds, views (More...)

Hilary Franz is a favorite of Seattle environmentalists, backed in her campaign for commissioner of public lands by one of the founders of Earth Day and a director of Patagonia.

Steve McLaughlin, her opponent, comes from a ranching background and is retired from a 25-year career in the miliary.

The two are vying on the November ballot to become the next Commissioner of Public Lands, who as leader of the Department of Natural Resources is the state’s top firefighting official and manages 5.6 million acres of state lands.

The commissioner oversees logging in state forests and the leasing of state agricultural, aquatic and commercial lands that generate on average more than $200 million a year, primarily for public-school construction.

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About This Race

Q&A: Hilary Franz and Steve McLaughlin | Commissioner of Public Land  (More...)

Hilary Franz and Steve McLaughlin answer three questions from Wenatchee World reporter Mike Irwin.

  • As you know, the big issue in our area — North Central Washington — continues to be wildfires. Tragic losses in two consecutive summers still keep us on edge. What are your thoughts on how the state Department of Natural Resources, along with other agencies, can prevent, protect and defend against future blazes?
  • The state's K-12 schools, universities and prisons always need more money. And much of those funds come from revenues generated by the state's public lands. How can we best balance environmental demands, including climate change, with those of logging, fishing, recreation and other economic interests?
  •  Forests, fish and minerals are key resources for NCW's Colville Confederated Tribes. What steps will you take to ensure DNR's continued communication and cooperation in helping manage tribal resources — both natural and cultural?