On Tuesday, Oct. 3, islanders probed local candidates at a forum on the Nov. 7 election presented by the League of Women Voters of the San Juans, including for the San Juan County Public Hospital District No. 1. (Read about the races for the port and school board as well.)
Fourteen races are on San Juan Island and three in the Town of Friday Harbor, though races appear on ballots based on voters’ precincts. Due to timing, four races were selected for the forum. Ballots will be mailed on Oct. 17 and due by Tuesday, Nov. 7.
Anna Lisa Lindstrum and John T. Manning are running for San Juan County Public Hospital District No. 1 Commissioner 2. The position is nonpartisan, with a six-year term and can earn $114 per meeting. This race will be on every San Juan Island ballot.
The winner of this seat will replace current Commissioner Barbara Sharp. Commissioner Michael Edwards’ seat is also open and Peg LeBlanc is running unopposed for that nonpartisan position but recently said she dropped out; her name will still appear on ballots. The position also has a six-year term that can earn $114 per meeting.
Lindstrum was the general manager of the local restaurant Duck Soup for 10 years, and recently returned to the position after a four-year hiatus. She has also worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant before she moved to the island.
Manning is the former Director of San Juan County Health and Community Services for 20 years and worked at the Alaska state agency for emergency medical services for five years. He has served on the board of nonprofits such as the local prevention coalition, which promotes awareness of drug and alcohol problems.
Both candidates agreed that the most important issue facing the board is the looming closing of the district’s only skilled nursing facility called the Life Care Center. (For more information, read “Finances, lack of staff contribute to Life Care’s closing.”)
“You’re not going to have the same service if the center is not manned and operating,” said Manning. “It’s a major crisis for the health care in the community.”
Lindstrum said she knows the importance of those services because she cared for family members at the end of their lives.
“Families are trying in the best way to care for their loved ones and 60, skilled and caring people are losing their jobs,” she said.
Lindstrum said the center falls under the hospital district’s management, but noted the San Juan Island EMS budget — which the hospital district manages — is a strong priority of hers to “make sure those services are here for all us.” Services include first responders and ambulance transports.
However, Manning noted that information on the EMS budget has not always been given transparently or timely and he would like to resolve that. Lindstrum said the budget is “critical,” and is looking forward to the department’s new paramedicine program, which includes visiting patients at home.
Both candidates support the state’s Death with Dignity Act, which allows terminally ill adults to request lethal medication from physicians. Lindstrum said she is endorsed by the local Planned Parenthood and Manning said “family planning is important.”
The last day for in-person voter registration, for those not registered in the state, is Oct. 30. For more information on the election, visit www.sanjuanco.com/1292/Current-Election.