Washington State’s incumbent Commissioner of Public Lands has just announced via Facebook that he’s decided to step down and will not seek a third term in 2016.
Peter J. Goldmark, sixty-nine, has served as the state’s independently elected chief of the Department of Natural Resources since January 2009. He was originally elected in 2008, defeating incumbent Republican Doug Sutherland. He was reelected in 2012, defeating Republican challenger Clint Didier.
After talking with my family, I have now decided not to seek a third term as Washington’s Commissioner of Public Lands. These last eight years have been the highlight of my nearly 40 years of public service. Thank you to the many friends throughout the state who support and guide me. The dedicated staff at DNR are an inspiration every working day. And my gratitude goes to the people of Washington, who have twice given me the honor of choosing me to serve. I look forward to continuing that service until January 2017.
Goldmark, who owns a ranch in Okanogan County and ran against Cathy McMorris Rodgers for Congress in 2008, is the only current member of the executive department who hails from Eastern Washington. (The other eight members — Jay Inslee, Brad Owen, Bob Ferguson, Kim Wyman, Troy Kelley, Jim McIntire, Randy Dorn, and Mike Kreidler — are from Western Washington).
Two individuals besides Goldmark have filed so far to run for Commissioner of Public Lands in 2016. They are Karen Porterfield, a Democrat who unsuccessfully challenged Dave Reichert in 2012, and Steven M. Nielson of Port Orchard, who identifies as a Libertarian. Porterfield has raised $7,300 to date, according to Public Disclosure Commission data. Nielson has not reported raising any money so far.
Goldmark’s announcement is likely to prompt additional candidates to seek the job of Commissioner of Public Lands. It’s not often the position comes open.
Also retiring from their positions in the executive department this year are Lieutenant Governor Brad Owen, Treasurer Jim McIntire, and Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn. Troy Kelley hasn’t said he’s retiring, but we can’t imagine he’s going to seek reelection.
If Kelley doesn’t file for reelection, it will guarantee that a majority of the positions in Washington’s executive department will be turning over as of next January.
We at NPI thank Peter Goldmark for his many years of service to our state as Commissioner and wish him the best in retirement.