Endresen to resign as county commissioner

North Kitsap Commissioner Chris Endresen will resign in June to take a post as state director for U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA).

“This was a very tough decision,” Endresen said. “I love this job and wouldn’t leave it for just anything.”

Endresen, 50, replaces Kurt Beckett, who was Cantwell’s long time top state aide. She will work in Cantwell’s Seattle office, and will manage Cantwell’s Washington state operations, including offices in Spokane, Tacoma, Vancouver, Everett and Tri-Cities.

Endresen was first elected in 1996 and is now serving her third term as commissioner. She last faced the voters in 2004, when she handily defeated North Kitsap resident Scott Henden.

Endresen plans to step down on June 28. Within five days the other commissioners—Jan Angel and Josh Brown—must agree on a candidate to fill the vacancy. If they cannot agree then it will fall to Gov. Christine Gregoire to make an appointment.

The new commissioner candidate must be a resident of North Kitsap County and belong to the Democratic Party. The Party will present three names to the commissioners, who can accept the recommendations or select another candidate.

The local Democratic Party will meet in the upcoming weeks to select three candidates for the position. These meetings will be open to the public.

Party executive Jim Sharpe said those who are already in public office would be in the strongest position to earn a recommendation.

The appointee will serve out Endresen’s current term, which will expire in 2008.

South Kitsap Commissioner Jan Angel has indicated she will not seek another term. As a result, Brown will become the senior member of the board of commissioners in January 2009. He will then be 28 years old.

Endresen considered this when she made the decision to take the new job but said “Josh is doing a fantastic job, better than anyone could have imagined.”

“It is a tremendous loss to the county,” Kitsap County Auditor Karen Flynn said of Endresen. “She has provided real leadership on so many issues. Added Rep. Sherry Appleton (D-Poulsbo) “this is a wonderful opportunity for her and opens many different doors.”

The Kitsap News Group will continue to cover this story as it develops.

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