Listen to the July 16, 2018 debate.
My opening statement:
Thank you Todd for having me here today and giving me the opportunity to explain to the voters of Clallam County why they should elect me prosecuting attorney.
My name is Selinda Barkhuis. I graduated law school in 1994 and I have lived and worked in Clallam County since 1995.
For the first seven years of my legal career, I had an active family law and criminal defense practice.
After a stint as senior planner in the county’s department of community development, I have been elected three times by the voters of Clallam County to public office, twice as the County Treasurer and also for a term as a charter review commissioner.
I’ve also been elected two times as Clallam County Bar President, and I’ve been recognized several times over the years for my public service and my efforts to improve access to justice.
I am running for prosecutor to pursue justice for all of us, especially the most vulnerable among us, and to restore trust and fiscal responsibility to the prosecutor’s office. To that end, I have a five step action plan, as follows.
- One, as prosecutor I will execute the almost absolute power of prosecutorial discretion consistent with my track record of being an ardent champion of the statutory and constitutional rights of all of us.
- Two, when I am prosecutor I will provide legal advice to the prosecutor’s statutory clients that is professional, conflict-free, and above board.
- Three, when I am prosecutor I will review the budgets of both the county prosecutor’s office as well as the county’s risk management department for the purpose of restoring financial responsibility involving the prosecutor’s office.
- Four, when I am prosecutor I will aggressively collect on all the debts that have been outstanding for many years now on the county’s various franchise and interlocal agreements.
- And five, as prosecutor I will carry my own case load and prosecute crimes against the most vulnerable among us right alongside my deputies.
What is so important for the public to understand is that the position of prosecutor is among the most powerful of elected offices, due to the prosecutor’s almost absolute discretionary power to file criminal charges and civil lawsuits, and as such impact far-reaching professional and financial ramifications, wrongly so if that discretion is abused by, for instance, withholding evidence, disregarding the truth, disregarding the law, or via threatening or abusive behavior.
This year Clallam County voters have a once in a four-year opportunity to decide who should wield that almost absolute power as prosecuting attorney.
Their choices are:
- The incumbent, champion of expensive lawsuits that call into question his professional judgment as well as his personal boundaries.
- And yours truly, who, according to the incumbent himself, is an ardent champion of your rights and who, as county treasurer, successfully restored trust and fiscal responsibility to the treasurer office.
As your prosecuting attorney, I promise to likewise restore trust and fiscal responsibility to the Prosecutor’s Office, and I promise to pursue justice consistent with the rights of all us, especially the most vulnerable among us.
Please elect me county prosecutor. I thank you for your vote.