The two new Port of Columbia County Commissioners are to be sworn into office on July 1, following the Special Election held on May 21.

Voters selected Nancy Ward for Port Position 1 and Chip Bubl for Port Position 2.

Bubl said he expects to encounter a big learning curve as a new commissioner.

“I need to get familiar with the budget and the port properties and existing tenants,” Bubl said. “There’s lots to get to know and there’s big issues still surrounding what’s going to happen at Port Westward.”

Ward also said her first task will be getting familiar with the port, which will mean meeting with port staff and learning how the port is organized and operated.

“There isn’t a way to predict what my challenges will be until I know more about the operations of the port,” Ward wrote in an email sent to The Chronicle. “I am aware of the challenges at Port Westward, but there is much more to the port than that one aspect.”

Ward also said she focused her campaign on meeting people in the community and did not use money as the primary foundation of her campaign.

“I went out and met people on their own turf and talked to people about the issues they consider important,” Ward said.

A big lesson Ward said that she learned, is that many residents in Columbia County do not understand what the port does.

“There was also a lot of dialogue about educating,” Ward said. “I’d like to see everyone in this county understand what an important organization the port is. The decisions made by the port affect the lives of everyone in this county.”

Bubl told The Chronicle he didn't see any mudslinging like there can often be in political campaigns.

“I really felt this was a civilized campaign by all parties" he said. "Everyone just stayed who they were, what they stood for, and let the voters make their choices based on that,” Bubl said.

In the May 21 Special Election, Ward gained 39.6 percent of the vote, barely beating incumbent Patrick Trapp.

For Position 2, Chip Bubl gained 51.47 percent of the vote, beating 16-year incumbent Mike Avent.

Larry Ericksen retained Position 3, running unopposed.

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