OLYMPIA — A town hall meeting scheduled for Forks on Dec. 12 will be rescheduled due to a critical meeting on water rights.

The meeting, hosted by Sen. Kevin Van De Wege, D-Sequim, Rep. Steve Tharinger, D-Dungeness, and Rep. Mike Chapman, D-Port Angeles, will be rescheduled for a future date.

The canceled meeting will be publicized in a newsletter that was printed and prepared for mailing before a critical work session on water rights was scheduled for the same date. Constituents should ignore the notice of the Forks meeting.

The mailer also lists town hall meetings for 5:30 to 7 p.m. Dec. 12 at the Peninsula College Little Theatre on 1502 E. Lauridsen Blvd. in Port Angeles and 5:30 to 7 p.m. Dec. 13 at the Elks Lodge at 555 Otto St. in Port Townsend.

Those meetings will proceed as scheduled, the lawmakers said.

­­“Town hall meetings provide an important venue for constituents to connect with their elected officials, but the last thing anyone wants is for someone to take the time to go to a meeting that’s had to be canceled,” Van De Wege said. As the new chair of the Senate Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources & Parks Committee, Van De Wege will be at the center of water rights negotiations in the coming legislative session.

“It’s unfortunate but unavoidable that this extremely important work session was scheduled after the newsletter was printed,” said Tharinger, the lead House negotiator for the capital budget which was stalled last session by a stalemate over unrelated water rights legislation. “It was just one of those one-in-a-million things.”

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