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Candidates come out for forum

With Washington state’s primary election less than two weeks away, community forums have kicked into high gear as cities, organizations and neighborhoods come together to question future leaders.

Olalla is no exception.

The Olalla Community Club and the Olalla Grange are again hosting a candidates’ forum that, unlike other forums held in recent weeks, features primary candidates from both the Kitsap County commissioner’s race and candidates running for seats in the 26th District House of Representatives.

According to Carol Foley, secretary of the Olalla Community Club, all of the opposed candidates in the three races will participate — plus some.

Charlotte Garrido and Brock Jackley, running against each other in the Democratic primary for Kitsap County commissioner, will participate in the forum, as well as Republican incumbent Jan Angel, who is running unopposed in the primary.

Both Republican Matt Rice and Democratic incumbent Patricia Lantz, running against each other for a House seat in the General Election, will participate, though neither is contested in the primary.

Democrat Derek Kilmer, running against Republican incumbent Lois McMahan for her seat in the House, will also participate in the forum.

“We didn’t know what to expect, but they’re coming,” Foley said.

Foley said Libertarian candidate Ted Haley, running against Lantz and Rice in the General Election, was invited but has not responded.

Julie Tappero will moderate the event.

“There are really not too many general forums like this,” Foley said. “Most are put on by special interests or a group or swayed one way or the other. This is truly an open forum; it’s non-partisan. In that sense it’s kind of unique”

Foley said she predicts Olalla residents will have three central issues on their minds tonight: the Olalla estuary, the Burley-Olalla traffic interchange and the general economy, specifically, jobs.

“I think some people don’t even vote in the primary, sadly enough, and anything that will encourage people to make a personal connection and get their questions asked will be beneficial as we switch to the new system,” said Foley, who estimates the turnout will be around 100.

According to Foley, each candidate will have three minutes to introduce themselves and their platform. There will be three separate “debates,” one for each race.

The public will have an opportunity to write questions on 3x5 cards that will be collected and grouped and asked of the candidates.

Foley estimated each race will be given a half and hour, but candidates have been encouraged to stay and allowed to display campaign literature so they can continue to interact with those who have unanswered questions.

“I think the opportunity to see and hear and ask will have a great impact,” Foley said.

The Community Club and Grange are planning another forum in Olalla to be held on Wednesday, Oct. 20, prior to the Nov. 2 general election.

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