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Final filings highlight heated contests

Residents running for the four open Port Orchard City Council seats and the one contested South Kitsap Parks Board seat are off to the races, as Friday’s filing deadline came to a close and all candidates’ intentions were finally known.

All four sitting councilmembers up for re-election have decided to run again.

Councilwoman Carolyn Powers will defend her seat against local attorney Dennis Xavier Goss. Councilman Todd Cramer will Melode Sapp, executive director of the Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce and Tye Moore.

Councilman Bob Geiger filed for re-election Friday and will be running against Port Orchard Planning Commission Chair Gil Michael for the council’s at-large position.

“There were so many people pressuring me to do so,” Geiger said of filing, “and in a moment of weakness, I finally decided to file.”

Geiger remains philosophical about his chances of winning against Michael.

“It’s up to the people, as always,” Geiger said. “If they prefer one or the other, that’s who they prefer, and that’s who they’ll vote for.”

“(The fact that Geiger filed) really doesn’t change anything in my approach,” Michael agreed. “I filed, and I wanted to run because what I believe is that the people of the city need a person who brings better representation and a voice that listens to the people.

“I filed for the at-large position because I wanted to represent the people,” he said. “Residents of Port Orchard have spoken very clearly (through the last election) that they are ready for a change. They are ready for a council that takes action.”

Councilman Ron Rider also filed for re-election Friday. He will defend his seat against former Port Orchard Mayor Leslie Weatherill and Port Orchard Planning Commissioner Fred Chang.

Chang was appointed to the Port Orchard Planning Commission in 1999 and is also the current chair of the Bremerton Ferry Advisory Committee.

He said his goal as a councilmember would be to “manage growth in a way that preserves Port Orchard’s unique character while ensuring a healthy economy by improving access to transportation and increasing jobs in the city.”

Meanwhile, Ryan Rees, who was recently appointed to the South Kitsap Parks and Recreation Board of Commissioners did not file for formal election, but his father, Leon Rees, did file for his seat.

“I just decided that Ryan is so busy running the business that he just doesn’t have time for it,” Leon Rees said. “My wife (Margie Rees, who is uncontested in her quest for re-election to a separate board seat) has worked on it for several years and I’m pretty familiar, so I thought I’d just toss my hat in.”

Rees will run against Warren Collver III and Bill Pierce.

For a complete list of all candidate filings visit www.kitsapgov.com.

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