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Washington Commissioner of Public Lands

The Commissioner of Public Lands is the head of the Department of Natural Resources, overseeing the management of 5 million acres of forest, agricultural, range, tidal and shore lands of the state, as well as public rulemaking on public lands use.

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    Hilary Franz

  • Sue Kuehl Pederson

Biographical Information

How has your experience prepared you for this position?

What will be your top three priorities, if elected?

How will your office address these issues?

How will you balance the need for income producing lands versus the need to preserve lands?

What is your view of the use of Federal lands by private individuals for private gain, i.e. raising cattle?

What actions would you support to mitigate the effects of unusual weather patterns?

What role might your office have in dealing with civil unrest in the state?

Party Preference Democrat
Experience (Max 500 characters) Elected Experience: Commissioner of Public Lands 2017-present; Bainbridge Island City Council 2008-2011. Professional Experience: Nonprofit Executive Director 2011-2015, protecting natural resource lands and fish and wildlife conservation areas; Environmental Land use Attorney, representing local governments, tribes, and nonprofits on environmental issues. Board member of Conservation Northwest and Washington Environmental Council. Education: JD, Northeastern University; BA, Smith College.
Campaign Email
Town where you live Seattle
Twitter @hilaryfranz
In just three years, as the Commissioner of Public Lands, I've set forth plans to ensure our lands and waters are healthy and productive, both today and for future generations. We're implementing the first ever Forest Health Plan, restoring the resiliency of 1.25 million acres of forest lands and developing a forest action plan for the west side to reduce loss of these forests. We’ve overhauled our wildfire fighting team, and secured $50 million for forest health and wildfire prevention. We've made significant strides in increasing our renewable energy portfolio, including 22 wind leases and 2 of the largest solar farms with 33 more in the works. And we removed more toxic materials from the Puget Sound and increased salmon restoration projects on state and federal lands. I'm now leading the effort to make Washington’s lands, waters, and communities more resilient in the face of climate change with the first ever Climate Resilience Plan.
My top priorities are: 1. Create more sustainable economic opportunity and funding for basic health, housing, education and human services; 2. Reduce our carbon emissions and help our communities be more resilient to climate change from flooding and drought to wildfires, dying forests and ocean acidification; and 3. Transform the current trajectory of our salmon and orca populations through our new salmon strategy we are launching this year.

I will expand progress made in my first term including: increasing revenue for our schools and communities through strategic investments that protect working forests and farms; growing rural economic jobs; increase housing and commercial opportunities in our cities; improving the way we fight wildfires and addressing the root of the problem—forest health; and, implementing the state’s first climate resilience plan so our communities and our state can be more resilient in the face of climate change
I will: 1. Support economic development projects through our Rural Economic Development Initiative. Specific projects include protecting working forest lands and agricultural lands, increasing investments in cross-laminated timber and mass timber manufacturing, and expanding clean energy opportunities. 2. Secure dedicated funding to implement our 2020 Wildfire Strategic Plan and our 20 Year Forest Health plan, minimizing wildfires’ effects. The Wildfire Strategic plan is meant to ensure Washington’s preparedness, recovery, and response systems are fully capable. Coupling these efforts, the Forest Health Strategic Plan will treat 1,250,000 acres making our landscapes more resilient to wildfire. 3. Implement our Climate Resilience Plan, including investing in carbon sequestration projects, water storage and efficiency, forest health, ocean acidification reduction as well as working with local communities to develop and implement climate resiliency projects.
I have spent the last 3+ years working to find new revenue sources for the Department of Natural Resources. DNR has an obligation to help provide critical funding for Washington State schools and local governments; it also has a responsibility to preserve our environment and natural habitats for future generations. I have increased new revenue streams to the historic income generator of timber to achieve a more robust and diversified portfolio, which includes additional commercial/industrial properties, communication sites, high value agriculture, and wind and solar developments. This diversified portfolio has meant that, in some cases, DNR is now able to generate $1,100-$1,400 dollars an acre for our schools, an increase from the historical $0-1 per acre, in an environmentally friendly way from commercial and residential in our urban areas to clean energy and high value agriculture in our rural areas.
I am supportive of private individuals utilizing Federal lands for uses that will help us mitigate climate change, reduce our forest health crisis and decrease wildfires, ensure water resources and food supply in a sustainable way, and help us promote public access.
We’re protecting our natural resource lands to help sequester carbon and serve as natural carbon storage solutions. Specifically, we: • Developed a carbon sequestration inventory and we’re now creating a carbon market program to increase conservation of our old growth forests and prevent conversion and loss of our forests; • Developed a 20-Year Forest Health Plan for the state, restoring 1.25 million acres of forests to health to prevent them from dying and burning up; • Placed thousands of acres of natural resource lands in protected conservation status and prevented conversion of thousands of additional acres of natural resource lands; • Implemented sustainable agricultural practices on our agricultural lands to increase carbon sequestration and water retention, including exploring compost, biochar and other types of techniques; and • Placed thousands of acres of high value natural areas in NRCA, NHCA and Aquatic Reserve status.
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