GUEST EDITORIAL: Grays Harbor County Commission Race: When It Raines, It Pours – Kristine Lowder

Kristine Lowder and friendA recovering Democrat, Kristine Lowder of Hoquiam is the former County Chair of the Grays Harbor Republican Party and local author.  She also writes extensively on cultural/political issues that affect Grays Harbor County.  CONTACT:  –


Grays Harbor County Commission Race: When It Raines, It Pours

Filing week is in Grays Harbors’ rear view mirror and primary ballots are set to go out on July 16. The race for county commissioner is an interesting one, with a crowded field jockeying for outgoing Commissioner Welch’s (R) seat in District 3. The top two will advance to the general election in November. Those two will be Vickie Rainies (NP) and Al Smith (D). Raines is the candidate who can pour out the pluses.


Candidate Vickie Raines

A thirty-year resident of Grays Harbor transplanted from Marysville, Raines is a former Cosmopolis City Council member and the current Mayor of Cosmopolis. She was appointed and sworn in as Cosi mayor in 2002, elected in 2003, and re-elected in 2007 and 2011.

Raines cleared the gate in the commish race early, announcing her plans to run last November. She grabbed the rail and hasn’t looked back. Raines put together a campaign team, strategy, social media presence, meet and greets in Hoquiam, Lake Quinault/Neilton, Aberdeen and Wishkah Valley, and an impressive events calendar before any other contender took the field. According to campaign co-chairs Kellie Daniels and Tami Garrow:

Endorsements are piling up with several hundred people supporting Vickie from every part of the County. The endorsement list continues to grow daily and our grassroots volunteer list is simply amazing!

Her campaign Facebook page is flirting with 500 likes. The rest of the wannabes are scrambling to catch up.

With fourteen years of experience as a community elected official under her belt, Raines is politically savvy and well-seasoned. She has a proven track record of effective and innovative management, particularly as it relates to local flood-control issues and shepherding Cosmopolis through the Weyerhauser shutdown.

Raines’s top issues include Open Government, Tourism, and Jobs. She says she would “like to see the County establish a strategic plan to enable us to be the driver of our future. They currently do not have a plan and therefore, actions are often made in a re-active manner, versus being pro-active.” Her press release emphasizes “common sense leadership” with a focus on “sustaining and creating new jobs in every corner of the County” as well as her experience in private sector and non-partisan contexts:

I will listen – I will apply common sense

“I will work for ALL of Grays Harbor and as such, I will be non-partisan in my pursuit to bring jobs and economic opportunities to Grays Harbor County. I will listen – I will apply common sense – I will implement good ideas and I will work diligently to solve problems and create new opportunities. I will work for you, and I will be, ‘A LEADER FOR ALL OF US’.’”

She adds:

…we must look at the County’s assets, buildings, equipment and such to create some type of maintenance &/or procurement plan to repair or replace these items.

With regards to tourism, I believe we are moving in the right direction with the fairgrounds and the raceway, but those two assets should be self-sufficient. More can be done to help promote tourism throughout the county and specifically to review the needs of the unincorporated areas such as Grayland, Tokeland, Pacific Beach & Quinault.

Jobs are critical. With Grays Harbor holding the bag with the state’s highest unemployment, we need to do what we can to promote family wage jobs and assist where possible with existing and potential business owners and industry to bring forth more jobs, but doing so without getting in their way.”

“Other issues” cited include Wild Olympics, Crude by Rail, and the possible formation of a public hospital district.

Personable and approachable, Raines is also described as “tough” or “pragmatic.” Her combination of experience, gravitas, and level-headed approach to complex issues will well serve Harborites in these challenging economic times.


Vickie Raines for Commissioner website CLICK HERE



5 thoughts on “GUEST EDITORIAL: Grays Harbor County Commission Race: When It Raines, It Pours – Kristine Lowder

  1. It’s those “other issues cited,” but not commented upon, that cause me concern. That is why I have decided to support AL SMITH for District 3 County Commissioner.

  2. Some issues are missing here. One glaring issue–the most profound of all for the safety, well being and economy of every community in Grays Harbor. That includes East County which wasn’t mentioned in this editorial: Elma, McCleary, Malone, Porter, Gibson Creek, Oakville…don’t forget us. Commissioners do need to take a stand on the proposed crude oil projects for The Port of Grays Harbor, unless in favor of the dangerously poor judgment demonstrated so far by our Port Commissioners and Port Administrator. WE need transparency–and we need it now! For that error in judgment, and a few others, by Ms. Raines–I stand with Al Smith for County Commissioner District #3. He is a man for the people.

    • While it is understood the current Gray Harbor County commission race is district specific it should be understood by all citizens the commission is a team of three individuals which work hand in hand with one another. For one to cross over into a fellow district commissioner’s district to help out is not out of the question. To the best of my knowledge it happens on a pretty regular basis.

      Having been involved in the Wishkah Road Project for a number of years now, I can tell you that Al Carter was the one who took our petition and ran with it when Mike Wilson would not touch it – even though it was Mike’s district. When Mr. Carter was voted out of office, Commissioner Terry Willis from District 1 championed the lead support in making sure the necessary paper work was done and behind our back support that she provide to Frank Kersh and I on this project. Both Commissioner Carter and Commissioner Willis were hard working leaders that in many cases does not get mentioned.

      The above was a long answer Carol, but gives you a pretty firm sense in how things can be when you have leaders that will go to your kitchen table and help you and your neighbors with a problem.

      Thank you for your concern.

  3. I have yet to see common sense or Ms. Raines willingness to listen to the citizen’s of Grays Harbor County since she declared her decision to run in November. She spoke out in support of Grays Harbor Community Hospital becoming a district hospital even though she hadn’t a clue as to their massive debt then immediately back peddled on her comment. She was mute until very recently in regards to the oil by rail issue. She began to sing a different tune as more and more Grays Harbor County citizens voiced a resounding no to oil by rail. She says she will apply common sense approach as a leader and strongly supports a transparent government. Does her ” proven track record of effective and innovative management as it relates to local flood control issues” mean spending millions of dollars replacing a broken damn on Mill Creek that hasn’t flooded since the dike was put in by Aberdeen in 1995 or spending horrific amounts on damning the Chehalis river. By pursuing this she is wasting tax payer’s money and destroying spawning grounds for the fish. I am so tired of the “career Politicians who put their special interests ahead of the interests and needs of the community that put them in office. I want the person who is voted in the commissioner district 3 position to be intelligent and practice common sense. They should be willing to be a team player but show strength in making decision and voting on what needs the community has expressed. I believe that Al Smith is that person. He is the right person for the County Commissioner District #3. He is passionate about this county and has been very vocal about no oil by rail. He understands the dangers and numerous risks involved and wants to keep the harbor safe. He has been an activist and environmentalist all his adult life with the sole purpose of protecting our fishing industry, rivers and beaches. He also believes that Grays Harbor County can provide industries a great place to set up shop for business and has the expertise , desire and passion to pursue job opportunities for the harbor. As a former mill worker, union rep and business owner he understands the financial hardships of the citizen’s of Grays Harbor. Al as a business owner has the experience of budgeting money and maintaining reserves for the rough times, using this knowledge when establishing county budgets. Al is truly a man for the people and has lived his life putting people first. He has my vote and I will proudly support him and encourage others to do the same.

  4. I just want to clarify that Mill Creek Dam did not have issues until it breached in 2008. Since then, the dam is not functional and has not held water back as we saw with the flooding of Cosmopolis homes following the Veteran’s Day 2008 and the January 2009 storms. It is also an important fact that fish passage is to be included with the dam replacement, so there should not be any salmon spawning issues.

    By the way…I too, have been a union member and a mill worker, in addition to administering million dollar budgets, while successfully and collaboratively working with host of individuals from varying backgrounds, regarding a variety of issues.

    If you have questions you want answered, I encourage all citizens to attend the upcoming candidate forum this Thursday, June 26 at 6:30pm. The forum will be hosted by the North Beach Community In Action group and will take place at the GHC Fire District 7, Ocean City Fire Hall, 2670 State Route 109, Ocean City.

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