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Assessor candidate forum set for June 23

Candidates for Grays Harbor Assessor will gather for a forum next week hosted by the Montesano Chamber of Commerce.

Assessor Rick Hole is facing a primary battle on two fronts by Loni Hooper and Dan Lindgren.

The forum is set for 7 p.m., June 23 at Montesano City Hall, located at 112 N. Main Street in Montesano. The event is co-sponsored by the Montesano Chamber of Commerce and The Vidette.

The event is moderated by Vidette Editor Steven Friederich, who will take questions from the audience.

Hooper, running as an Independent, is currently the chief appraiser for Pacific County, and Lindgren, a Democrat, is an appraiser for Grays Harbor County. Hole is just completing his first term as a member of the self-proclaimed Neither Party.

Hole came into office and worked with staff to expand awareness of the senior exemption program, hosting clinics to sign up residents all over the county. He also oversaw the county’s switch to a state-mandated annual revaluation cycle, which starts this year. The process has been mired in controversy since software Hole had wanted to get built in-house was never completed and the county is now being forced to spend its own funds with concerns if the office will be able to do its job on time. County Commissioner Frank Gordon has called on Hole’s resignation and staff in the Assessor Office, including Lindgren, had previously signed a letter to Hole and the county’s Board of Equalization that reads like a “No Confidence” vote.

Hole has said he’s made some mistakes, but that the county commissioners could have done more to support him. The Assessor’s race is the only countywide race on the ballot.

There is a four-way battle for county commission, but that primary will just be focused within the Commission District 3, consisting of Cosmopolis, Lake Quinault, Hoquiam, Ocean Shores, Taholah and the Wishkah Valley. There is also a contested Prosecutor’s Office election, which will not appear on the primary ballot since just two candidates are running.

The primary election is August 5. Ballots are mailed out by July 18.

The forum will be videotaped for future broadcast on the public access television of Eagle TV and North Beach Community TV.