Several local elective positions on the Nov. 3 ballot are being sought by unopposed candidates. Following are brief profiles of each of them.
Anne Acheson, Winthrop Town Council
Anne Acheson is running unopposed to fill the Winthrop Town Council position now held by Vern Herrst, who is not running for re-election. She will bring a fair amount of familiarity with how small-town government works when she joins the council in January. Acheson has been on the town’s planning commission for several years, and her brother, Dave, served two terms at Winthrop’s mayor.
Acheson, who is the office manager for TwispWorks, said conversations with her brother led to a growing interest in issues that affect the town and the valley.
“The Methow is poised on the brink of a great deal of change,” she said in an interview. “I want to be part of the discussions and decisions that are made.”
Before moving to the Methow Valley in 2008, Acheson was a procurement systems analyst at The Boeing Co., where she worked for 22 years. She has been a devotee of the Methow since the 1980s, when she began regularly visiting the valley and “fell in love with it.” It’s a family inclination: Dave moved here in 1994, and their parents relocated to the Methow in 2001.
Acheson said she’s pleased with the results of the planning commission’s update of Winthrop’s comprehensive plan, which will have a public hearing before the council on Dec. 16. “It’s a great improvement,” she said. “The planning commission really took to heart what the community wanted.”
As to town issues, Acheson said it’s important that the Susie Stephens Trail be completed; that Westernization is vital to the town but needs a better definition of its intent; and that a merger of Winthrop and Twisp police departments “conceptually makes sense” but Winthrop would need to retain some measure of control over operations.
Acheson has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Washington University in St. Louis, and bachelor’s degree in computing systems from the University of Washington.
Hans Smith, Twisp Town Council
Hans Smith is running unopposed to fill the Twisp Town Council seat now held by Dwight Filer, who is not running for re-election. Smith has lived and worked in the Methow Valley since 2003, and has lived in Twisp with his wife and two boys since 2008.
Smith served as a Twisp Town Council member from 2010 to 2012, and he continues to represent the town on the Methow Watershed Council. He is a biologist for Yakama Nation Fisheries where he works on salmon habitat restoration in the Twisp and Methow Rivers.
In his work with the town of Twisp, Smith has maintained a strong focus on improving the town’s water supply.
“I am running for another Twisp Council seat because I want to be supportive of the good work being done by Mayor [Soo] Ing-Moody,” Smith said.
“Since I left the council in 2012, I have continued to work with Twisp officials on a number of issues regarding water and other matters. When it became clear that there would be council seat vacancies in this year’s election, I felt it was a good time to come back to the council and support what has been mostly a positive and productive working atmosphere in Town Hall,” he said.
“I believe that the Town of Twisp is a great place to live and work, and I want to continue to work hard for my fellow residents and our local businesses to make sure the town government is effective and responsive to our community’s needs.”
Judith Hardmeyer-Wright, Methow Valley School Board
Judith Hardmeyer-Wright, who taught for 31 years in pioneering educational programs, is running unopposed for the seat on the Methow Valley School Board that has been held by Don Calvert, who decided not to seek another term.
Most of Hardmeyer-Wright’s career was teaching in a special program in a public elementary school in Kitsap County, where the district created a curriculum that built on students’ natural curiosity and strengths. The program involved parents in planning and stressed an awareness of the wider community, she said.
“It was a school-within-a-school, with its own teachers and administrators. It was very innovative,” she said.
She later helped develop a multi-age program for fourth- through sixth-graders, where they integrated lessons based on students’ interests and abilities.
Both programs used concepts similar to the inquiry-based learning that is fundamental to the International Baccalaureate program the Methow Valley School District is pursuing. “It’s what education could be — and should be,” she said.
Hardmeyer-Wright has been a mentor at Methow Valley Elementary School for 10 years and has served on nonprofit boards within the county.
One of her primary reasons for wanting to serve on the school board is her support for the philosophy of the Independent Learning Center, which makes wide use of mentors and aligns the curriculum with students’ interests. She also stresses the importance of vocational education.
Hardmeyer-Wright and her husband have lived in the Methow Valley, near Mazama, for 10 years.