Clinton, Nelson face off for treasurer in front of voters

Questions asked ranged from experience to important roles of office

IAN SMAY, Evergreen reporter

Republican incumbent Mark Clinton and Democratic challenger Christina Nelson answered questions at a forum held by the League of Women Voters of Pullman at the Whitman County Library in Colfax on July 17.

The pair will move on to the general election in November as the only two candidates in the field.

The first question posed to the candidates asked what the most important role of the office was in their eyes.

Clinton said handling financial transactions for county departments was the highest priority.

“The most important role is to make sure that the deposits they bring to us are receipted correctly and that they’re accurate,” he said.

Nelson said accountability and accuracy are the two most important attributes the office needs to display.

“The treasurer is probably one of the key positions in the county,” she said. “The treasurer is the one that puts their name on the bottom line.”

The next topic covered asked for the candidates’ thoughts on opportunities to improve the office.

Nelson said there are a lot of areas for improvement, but the main places she would look would include tracking and services available to the treasurer from banks, including positive pay, which is offered by banks to prevent fraud. She also said she wants to prevent any possible hacking attempts.

Clinton said positive pay is one area that he has explored as treasurer as well as new processing equipment. However, the processing equipment was too expensive, he said, coming with an original cost in the thousands with similar yearly maintenance fees.

The final question both candidates answered asked what separates them from their opponent.

Clinton cited his 18 years of government finance experience in his answer.

“I think … I know where to look if I have questions and I think we’re doing a pretty good job in that office,” he said.

Nelson said she respected what Clinton had accomplished while in office but that her leadership style was different and would help the department.

“I like getting in and seeing how the process works,” she said. “That is something that I can bring is a skill set that I have.”