SEATTLE - An environmental attorney and a retired Navy commander are vying to become Washington's next public lands commissioner. The office oversees the state's largest firefighting force and 5.6 million acres of state-owned lands.
Democrat Hilary Franz and Republican Steve McLaughlin are running this November to replace Peter Goldmark, who did not seek a third term.
McLaughlin, 60, who served in the Navy for 25 years, said he supports increasing timber harvests and opening more state lands to recreational opportunities, such as horseback riding, hunting and off-road vehicles.
Franz, 46, who is executive director of the statewide advocacy group Futurewise, said timber harvests are part of the solution. But she believes the department should look at other ways to maximize revenue from state lands, such as leasing it for wind, solar or other economic development.
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