Public Power Moves Closer to Reality in Thurston County

Over the past few months you’ve read in these pages and elsewhere about the evolving movement to electrify the Thurston County Public Utility District (PUD). As we discuss this with citizens of various political ideologies and persuasions, we are realizing that this is a non-partisan issue that resonates very favorably with most people – liberals, conservatives, or middle-of-the-roaders.

It’s time for the citizens of Thurston County, Washington to take control of their electrical destiny and initiate the transfer of ownership for this and all future generations – by telling the foreign corporation pulling Puget Sound Energy’s puppet strings, “Thanks, but we’ve got it from here.”

Most of the people we talk with immediately see the values of ownership:  local control; increased reliability; improved service; lower costs; and the economic stimulus that comes from bringing skilled jobs back to Thurston County from wherever they were outsourced by PSE years ago. Some are wary or downright hostile to the thought of giving our power to “The Government” either because they fear it or they think “The Government” screws up everything it gets its hands on. With them, we talk about the difference between Big Government with a capital ‘G’ (IRS, Congress, etc.) and local government with a small ‘g’ (the library, the school, and the fire department). We explain how the PUD is definitely small government because it is responsible only for Thurston County and consists of only three Commissioners, each of whom represents 1/3 of Thurston County, or approximately 82,000 citizens. More than 70% of the citizens we ask to sign the petition to get the Initiative on the ballot happily do so – we even got 75% of the people we asked at the recent Republican party caucuses to sign on!

“Small g” government consists of our neighbors who want to make our life better. After all, they live here, too. Small government is directly responsible to its citizens who, if they don’t approve of what the elected officials do, vote them out of office.

The campaign for Public Power is shifting into full-power mode and will be more and more visible throughout April, May, and June as we collect at least 10,733 valid signatures of Thurston County voters on our petitions and qualify for the November 6 ballot. We need your help in making Public Power a Thurston County reality. Ways you can help include:

  • Sign the petition 
  • Attend one of our Community Meetings
  • Circulate a petition among your friends and work mates
  • Talk with everyone you know about the benefits of Public Power
  • Collect signatures at an approved location in Olympia, Yelm, Bucoda, or Tumwater
  • Donate whatever you can to help extend our outreach to fellow citizens

Are you looking for a good reason to go to the Democratic Party caucuses on April 15? If you’ve not yet signed our petition, look for one at your caucus – or email us at for a location near you.

Public Power is coming to Thurston County‚Ķ and all we need is a little help from those who’d like to cut the puppet strings.


John Pearce is the chairperson of the Thurston Public Power Initiative.

Reprinted with permission from the April 2012 issue of Works in Progress.

The Griffin Neighborhood Association, its Board and members, neither support nor oppose a public electrical utility in Thurston County. We welcome the opportunity to publish material either in support or in opposition to the initiative to place this question on November’s ballot. Leave your comments below, join us for a discussion on our Facebook Page, talk to your neighbors about this issue.

Posted in Uncategorized.