King County Water District 54 is the district which serves the greater downtown Des Moines area, with a coverage area from just south of 216th street to Kent Des Moines Road between the Marina and about 12th avenue south.
It is this district in position #2 that Jim Langston is currently running for election. What makes Mr. Langston’s campaign unique is his only opponent – John Rosentangle – died on August 12th. Completely unaware of this, Mr. Langston filed to run as a write in candidate on August 13th.
So you always intended to run as a write in, even before you were aware of his passing?
“Oh yes,” Langston said. “I would have liked to have beaten him in an election, even though I was a write in, but certainly I wouldn’t (didn’t) want him to die.”
As his deceased opponent was the only candidate to meet the necessary deadlines, his is the only name listed on the ballot.
Jim Langston is a busy man. A retired schoolteacher, he serves as the vice president and program chair of the Des Moines Historical Society, is a PCO for the 33rd legislative district for the Democratic Party, as well as the chair of the Des Moines Performing Arts Commission among other things. The arts commission is responsible for the annual summer concerts in the park, the responsibility of which caused Mr. Langston to miss the election registration deadline of May 17th.
If Jim Langston were to lose the election it would fall upon the current water district commissioners: Victor Pennington, John Rayback, and Alli Larkin to appoint a living replacement from willing residents within the district. Langston is running to replace John Rayback at position #2. None of said commissioners have yet commented on whom they would appoint in the event of the deceased John Rosentangle winning the election.
Last September residents within Water District 54 were told that their tap water was contaminated with E. coli and urged not to drink it (read our previous coverage here). The test turned out to be a false positive and the water district employee who conducted it was subsequently let go, according to Mr. Langston. It’s events like this he hopes to prevent in the future.
Water District 54 serves some 5,000 approximate customers across “765 meters, 164 of which are non-residential (business) connections,” according to district manager Eric Clarke.
Victor Pennington II is currently running unopposed for Des Moines City Council. His position as water district commissioner would also need to be appointed and filled following his expected election to City Council.
Results of the Nov. election should be finalized by Nov. 26, according to the King County Elections office.