Port’s Mahan won’t run again

Bill Mahan, who has been a Port of Bremerton commissioner since 2000, has announced he will not run for office again and will be retiring at the end of his term on Dec. 31, 2011.

“At the end of my career, I will have spent 36 years serving the public,” said Mahan in an interview with Kitsap Business Journal that he converted into a press release. “I will be eternally grateful to the voters that elected me for giving me their trust and the opportunity to serve them.”

Mahan entered the political arena as a commissioner for the Annapolis Water District, and stayed in that office from 1965 until 1968.

He was elected to the Board of Kitsap County Commissioners in 1968 and was re-elected four times, serving as a Kitsap County Commissioner for 20 years.

He was elected Bremerton Port Commissioner in 1999 and re-elected in 2005.

“When I entered politics, back in 1964,” Mahan said, “I was not interested in entering into a philosophical debate about government and what it should or should not do. I wanted to work for the people using government’s power to make our community a better, healthier and safer place to live.”

But Mahan’s political career did spark a notable debate about the role of government at several points.

Most notably, he voted for an unpopular tax increase in 2006 to upgrade the Bremerton Marina without allowing his constituents sufficient time or notice to express their concerns.

The tax increase cost property owners 45 cents per $1,000 on their taxes, and raised $34 million to pay for the marina.

All three commissioners who aproved the increase — Mary Ann Huntington, Cheryl Kincer and Mahan — defended it vocally, saying that it was a worthy investment that would bring in a large returns for the port.

Huntington was defeated in her 2006 re-electtion bid by Larry Stokes and Kincer declined to run again last year.

Mahan, however, denies his decision to leave the board was related to the tax.

He said that he chose to announce his retirement from politics early to give other potential candidates time to consider running for his office.

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