With a love for numbers and accounting, Susan Bate always paid close attention during local elections, noticing that former Wahkiakum County Treasurer Paula Holloway often ran unopposed.
“I’ve had an interest in running for Wahkiakum County Treasurer for several years now and just never did it,” recalled Bate. “I guess it was nerves.”
Finally, with encouragement from her mother-in-law and the support of her family, Bate began to put into motion a dream that had been festering for quite some time. “I looked into what I had to do to become treasurer and I just did it,” Bate said. “I decided to file. I’ve always enjoyed working with numbers.”
Bate began her career in 1983 when she received her AA in accounting. Later, she found work as a legal secretary focusing on collections. She settled into the accounts payable office at JH Kelly.
“I loved my time at JH Kelly,” said Bate.
Adding to her qualifications Bate worked four years as auditor for Port District 1 as well as the auditor and secretary for Port District 2 and Fire Districts 1, 2, and 4.
“I am familiar with the accounting systems that the county uses through my work with the different districts,” said Bate who managed all of this while attending nursing school. “It was a busy time,” recalled Bate.
Susan currently works as a Home HealthCare nurse.
“I used to work out of the Ilwaco office,” said Bate, “but my husband didn’t like me making the drive over KM Mountain in the winter. Now, I’m based in Centralia. It’s about the same distance but it’s an easier trip. It would be really nice to be able to work closer to home.”
Bate enjoys her life in Cathlamet and being involved in this community. In her free time, she is the assistant treasurer at her church and has been a bookkeeper for mission trips. She also owns and manages several rental properties in the area.
“I’ve looked over the requirements for Wahkiakum County Treasurer and I think that this is something that I can do and do well,” said Bate. “If I am elected I hope to get the job done. I’m familiar with budgets, designated funds and I recognize the importance of accurate and precise bookkeeping. I will do my best to excel at what is required of me.”
When Marlena Silva and husband Tony came to Cathlamet in 1990, they were looking for a safe place to raise a family, and they did just that. While bringing up her two girls, Marlena began a career as a banker working for nine years at the Bank of the Pacific and another 12 years for Bank of America, maintaining positions as a customer service representative and a sales and service specialist.
When former Wahkiakum County Treasurer Paula Holloway resigned her position after 22 years, Marlena began work as the acting Wahkiakum County Treasurer. “I took over the position in April,” explained Marlena. “After an interview process, I was nominated by the board of commissioners.
“I was looking for a position where my strong banking skills would be valued, and I wanted to find a way to better support our community. I think that part of the reason that I was selected was my positive attitude and the fact that I see this position as a career. I am committed to being the treasurer for the long-run. I am willing to dedicate the next 20 years to being county treasurer.
“I’ve learned a tremendous amount since I began. I attended the Washington State Treasurer’s Conference this year and made some valuable connections with other Treasurers,” said Silva.
Aside from work at the treasurer’s office, Silva enjoys her time with her daughters, Ashley who was Wahkiakum High School Valedictorian this year and Amber, an eighth grader who, Silva says, is also quite a leader. Silva has been on the board of directors for Dollars for Scholars for three years, serving as the board secretary.
“I am personally invested in this community and I like the idea of making a difference on a personal level. As treasurer, I’ve had the chance to really help people,” said Silva. “I worked with a couple who was going through the foreclosure process. It’s a hard situation but it was nice to be able to make a difference.”
Silva hopes to continue her positive work if she retains the position.
“I’d like to streamline some of our current processes. I’m working on reducing banking fees and would like to make it easier for people to make payments. I’m looking into electronic channels in that regard.”
As the appointed treasurer, Silva asserts that she is familiar with the requirements of the job and capable of fulfilling those duties.
“It’s a personal commitment,” said Silva.