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Democrats set commissioner replacement schedule
North Kitsap Commissioner Chris Endresens resignation continues to stir the local political pot. While the Democratic Party is in the midst of establishing a schedule to put forth its recommendations, candidates are deciding whether or not to put themselves forward.
Since Endresen is a Democrat, that party that will nominate three of its members for consideration by the remaining county commissioners. According to the Democratic Party more than a dozen names have already surfaced.
The process, however, is still open. Interested candidates are directed to contact Party Chairman Carl Olson at (360) 698-6833 or email@example.com and request an application form. The application must be returned to Olson before June 4 to be considered.
At this time, the partys executive board will meet in closed executive session to determine if applicants meet basic eligibility requirements.
According to bylaws, eligibility is based on "good citizenship;
qualifications for the position involved; and past and present political affiliation." Candidates who meet those requirements will become eligible for nomination by any Democrat at the special caucus election.
That meeting will take place at 6 p.m. June 18 at the Kitsap
County Fairgrounds Events Center. Following this, Democrat Josh Brown and Republican Jan Angel will need to select one of those names to finish Endresens term. If they cannot decide, Gov. Chris Gregoire also a Democrat will choose from the same names.
Most of those involved in the process, including Angel, dont expect that Gregoire will need to get involved.
Josh Brown will select the next commissioner, said County Clerk Dave Peterson, a high-ranking Democrat. It wont do any good for Jan to drag her feet on a candidate that Josh supports. If it goes to the governor, she will call Josh and ask him who he wants.
Its possible for the county to run itself with only two commissioners, but the countys ongoing budget discussion makes it favorable to choose a new commissioner as soon as possible.
While many potential candidates are now conducting risk/benefit studies about getting in the race, Planning Commissioner Tom Nevins, 67, has announced he plans to seek the seat.
A retired teacher with an engineering degree, Nevins said the budget crisis can be partially alleviated by making sure the county gets all of the federal and state funding it deserves.
Nevins, who was appointed by Endresen to the Planning Commission, has lived in Kitsap County since 2001.
Angel said she would favor a candidate with whom she has worked before, in this regard County Treasurer Barbara Stephenson has a considerable advantage. The fact that Stephenson has proven her countywide electibility twice works in her favor. Additionally, she wont need very long to understand budget issues.
Stephenson, 54, said on Monday that she was considering putting her name forward.
Its a tough decision, she said. I would bring a skill set to that office that would be helpful. I would be able to take a good hard look at the countys financial picture.
If Stephenson is selected, the Democratic Party would also need to select a replacement treasurer.
After some initial reluctance, Poulsbo City Counselor Ed Stern, 52, is now seriously considering pursuing the job. Stern, who has never been a member of either political party, attended a Democratic meeting over the weekend and paid party dues.
Stern said he was keeping his options open, and to not join the Democratic Party would be to close them.
The rule in politics and business is to never rule out any options before you have to, Stern said.
Stern feels that the next commissioner should work to change county government.
The system is stressed and puts too much responsibility on three peoples shoulders, Stern said. Whoever takes this job should work to make sure it doesnt exist in its present form in five years.
Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council Director Mary McClure, a commissioner candidate in 1992, took herself out of the running this weekend, citing a heavy workload and impact on her health as deciding factors. She also felt that her time is better spent with KRCC, where she could make a more substantial contribution.
If I ran for commissioner would I wake up most days joyous, as I do in my current world?, she said. And whats the likelihood of looking back in three years and seriously kicking myself?