Washington state Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark will battle former NFL athlete-turned-rancher Clint Didier for the job in election

MOSCOW, Idaho , October 29, 2012 () – In the election battle over who will be Washington's commissioner of public lands, voters have a choice between two men who have demonstrated a passion for farming and ranching.

The commissioner of public lands is responsible for managing the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and administers a $625 million, two-year budget. The commissioner also chairs the state Board of Natural Resources, which sets policy for the management of state trust lands. The lands include some three million acres of publicly owned forests, agricultural and grazing lands and commercial properties.

Clint Didier, a former NFL athlete for the Washingon Redskins, has been coaching high school football in Connell, Wash., and maintaining his ranch land. In 2010, he ran for U.S. Senate against Democrat Patty Murray and against Republican Dino Rossi, winning the endorsement of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and Congressman Ron Paul. He lost in the primary election.

Peter Goldmark has held the seat since 2009, and also runs a scientific research facility at his ranch. There, he maintains a wheat-breeding program that has released new varieties for Washington wheat farmers. He has also served on the Washington State University Board of Regents; was a founding board member and past chairman of the Board of Farming and the Environment, a coalition of farmers, ranchers, and conservationists founded in 1999; and was a wildland firefighter in Okanogan County. He has held various other state agriculture positions since the early 1990s. He ran for Congress in 2006 in Washington's 5th Congressional District, but lost to Republican Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

Goldmark has said in his next term as commissioner, he wants to "maximize the potential for jobs, recreation, education and wildlife preservation throughout Washington." He has said he will focus on the protection of the Puget Sound area, more restoration projects, helping landowners gain access to additional sources of revenue for the benefits generated from working lands and biomass projects.

Didier is passionate about small government, and has spoken out against the farm bill and "government handouts." He has accused Goldmark of having an allegiance to the United Nations, and has said Goldmark is "mismanaging" Washington's public lands. He believes he can do a better job of preventing the kind of devastating forest fires that occurred this summer, and will do a better job of cleaning up after the mess those fires left behind.

Full websites for the candidates can be found at clintdidier.org and petergoldmark.com.

CLINT DIDIER

--Age: 53

--Affiliation: Republican party, endorsed by the tea party

--Current occupation: Farmer/rancher

--Family: Didier lives in Connell, Wash., with his wife, Kristi. He has four children.

CAMPAIGN FINANCING

--Amount raised: $131,184

--Amount spent: $56,575

With the largest amounts from the Republican Party and agriculture interests

PETER GOLDMARK

--Age: 66

--Affiliation: Democratic party

--Current occupation: Washington commissioner of public lands

--Family: Goldmark lives in Olympia with his wife, Wendy. He has five children.

CAMPAIGN FINANCING

--Amount raised: $549,439

--Amount spent: $388,627

With the largest amounts from energy, agriculture and forest interests

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(c)2012 the Moscow-Pullman Daily News (Moscow, Idaho)

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