Local 1849 backs Forlenza, Hughes for county council

The deadline for casting ballots in Nov. 6 election is 8 p.m. - File art
The deadline for casting ballots in Nov. 6 election is 8 p.m.
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County Council candidates Marc Forlenza and Rick Hughes earned the endorsement of the labor union representing San Juan County employees in their respective races.

The endorsements were determined by majority vote of members of Local 1849 that attended a Sept. 29 special meeting of the union, which represents roughly 125 county workers, and followed on the heels of a candidates forum hosted by the group earlier that month.

"The members determined that both of these candidates represent our best hopes for responsible and practical county leadership," said union President Colin Maycock, adding that endorsement decisions were not unanimous. "It was a fairly spirited debate."

Maycock said the group's executive board decided to conduct a special meeting in which endorsements for county council races would be determined following the candidate forum, but that not all members support that decision. He declined to say how many members participated in the special meeting.

"There definitely are some members that are not in favor of that (endorsements), but we are a democratic organization," he said. "It's what the majority wanted."

In a first-ever bid for public office, Forlenza is running against two-term incumbent Howie Rosenfeld for the District 3 council position, the boundaries of which include the Town of Friday Harbor. Hughes and Scott Lancaster are vying for the District 4 council position, Orcas West, currently held by Richard Fralick, who is not seeking reelection.

Maycock said that while Hughes and Forlenza earned a clear majority of votes, union members were deadlocked over an endorsement in the District 1 council contest, which pits first-term incumbent Lovel Pratt against challenger Bob Jarman.

"There were a number of motions and a number of votes, but there was no clear majority for either candidate," he said.

Local 1849 opted against weighing in on the recommendations of the Charter Review Commission, propositions No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 on the Nov. 6 election ballot, and against making financial contributions to candidate campaigns.

— Scott Rasmussen



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