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Forlenza joins the field in District 1 race

Marc Forlenza - Contributed photo
Marc Forlenza
— image credit: Contributed photo

The campaign continues for Friday Harbor businessman Marc Forlenza.

Fresh off a victory in his first-ever run for public office, Forlenza tossed his hat into the ring on Friday for the District 1 position on the newly reconstituted San Juan County Council.

"As a council-member elect, I would like to thank everyone that supported my campaign from all point on the electoral spectrum," Forlenza said in prepared statement announcing his candidacy. "My political DNA now includes all of you. To my existing supporters I say, join me again, and to new allies from Orcas, Lopez, Shaw, Waldron, Blakely, Decatur, Johns, Stuart, Friday Harbor and all the other outlying isles, I say, let's unite and finish the job."

Economic development and job growth top Forlenza's list of priorities. He intends to meet with business leaders locally and in Seattle, and with representatives of state government, as a means to help create new economic opportunities in the islands. He supports expansion of the broadband initiative, spearheaded by Orcas Power and Light Cooperative, to foster new educational and telecommuting opportunities.

"The truth is it's hard to make a living in San Juan County," he said. "We need jobs, not necessarily more people."

Part-owner and manager of the Technology Center on Mullis Street, Forlenza claimed a seat on the county council in the November election, defeating two-term incumbent Howie Rosenfeld by 99 votes. He will join the council in January. But his tenure in that position will prove short-lived, as voter-approved changes to the county Home Rule Charter that also eliminated three of the previous six council positions, divided the six former legislative districts into three, and all three of those posts are now up for grabs.

Forlenza joins councilman-elect Bob Jarman, who also will take office in January, as well as San Juan South incumbent Lovel Pratt, defeated by Jarman by 90 votes in November, in the race for the newly reformed District 1 position, which represents San Juan and its outer islands, including Henry, Spieden and Stuart.

With three candidates vying for the District 1 post — three candidates are competing for the District 2 (Orcas) position as well— voters across the county will narrow the field to two in a Feb. 12 primary election. The top two vote-getters will then square off in a countywide "general" election April 23. Each member of the 3-person council will earn $75,000 a year, plus benefits, a compensation package approved by the Citizens Salary Commission Nov. 9 in a 5-2 vote.

In the race for the former District 3 council position, Forlenza gained traction in opposing pending revisions to the county critical areas ordinance and to the extent of its regulatory reach. He intends to "mitigate to the extent possible any burdensome consequences of the recently passed (CAO)."

"If a bit more attention had been paid to people who reasonably questioned the CAO, I doubt the county would have become so divided."

In the race against Rosenfeld, Forlenza opposed the Charter Review Commission's proposed changes to the charter, Propositions 1-3, and along the way drew the endorsement of Local 1849, the largest labor union of county employees. He believes that to maintain a balanced budget the county will need to spend resources responsibly and reduce overlapping functions within the organization to conserve its funds.

Visit Marc Forlenza's campaign website at, www.marcforlenzaforcountycouncil.com.

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