Thomason appointed as port commissioner

Posted: Thursday, January 3, 2013 12:00 am

By ELAINE WILLIAMS of the Tribune | 5 comments

The only one of nine applicants for a vacant Lewiston port commission seat to attend a Wednesday meeting got the position.

Mike Thomason was selected in open session at the port commission’s meeting. Thomason retired as Lewiston-Clarkston regional business manager for Avista in 2012. He now has a part-time job as Asotin County managing director for the Southeast Washington Economic Development Association.

He is filling a seat formerly held by Dan Johnson, who left the port commission after winning election to a seat he was previously appointed to in the Idaho Senate.

Thomason rose to the top for a variety of reasons, said the two remaining commissioners on the three-member board.

He has won awards such as the civic improvement award from the Pullman Chamber of Commerce, said Mary Hasenoerhl, a port commissioner. Thomason was Avista’s regional business manager on the Palouse for two decades, ending in 2007.

“I do like the variety of experiences that Mike Thomason (has), not just in our community, but in other communities,” she said.

The port is on the right course and his role will be to continue that, Thomason said after the appointment.

“I’m honored. There were so many good candidates,” he said.

The other candidates were:

  • Richard Broncheau, a Nez Perce Tribal member who is the emergency management coordinator for the Nez Perce Tribe.
  • Jon Evans, executive director of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Lewis-Clark Valley.
  • Susan Brown, a certified public accountant who just retired from a spot on the Lewiston Planning and Zoning Commission.
  • Richard Wyatt, a retired owner of an engineering firm who lost to Johnson when Johnson ran for the port seat.
  • Danny Radakovich, a Lewiston attorney, who has served on the Lewiston School Board.
  • Max Smolinski, an owner of Bitterroot Bolt and Chain in Lewiston.
  • Robert Branson, a Lewiston resident who farms in the Nezperce area.
  • Morgan Lohman, president of Lohman Helicopter.

Commissioner Jerry Klemm said he was a “little disappointed” more of the candidates didn’t attend Wednesday’s meeting.

This isn’t the first time that someone with strong ties to Avista, the biggest electric and natural gas provider in the region, has been on the Port of Lewiston commission. Thomason’s predecessor at Avista, Terry Kolb, was a port commissioner from 1997 to 2008.

“It was just coincidental,” Hasenoerhl said of the Avista connection.

Thomason will have to stand for a vote in the next port commission election in 2014 if he wants to retain the seat.

“I would encourage all of them to run at that time and not just keep putting it on our shoulders,” Hasenoerhl said.

Williams may be contacted at [email protected] or (208) 848-2261.

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