Primary in home stretch

As Tuesday’s primary approaches, six Port Orchard City Council candidates stare down the road with longing at the November general election.

“It’s been kind of an emotional roller coaster,” said incumbent Councilman Ron Rider, who faces off with Fred Chang and former mayor Jay Weatherill on Tuesday.

Rider said he embodies a spirit that several other candidates have also expressed — a spirit of simple, honest government.

“It’s not about fame, it’s not about fortune, it’s not about a power trip,” Rider said, “I’ve learned what it takes to get the job done. I want to see it get done, and I want to be a part of it.”

Rider, along with fellow Councilman and candidate Todd Cramer, has spent the majority of his four years on the council being outvoted by the bloc including senior Councilmembers Carolyn Powers, Bob Geiger and John Clauson. Frustrated, he said he’d like another opportunity to get things done.

“We’re paid for what we get done, not for the time we put in,” Rider said of his full-time business, Northwest Tree Service. Both Rider and Cramer said they would like to see this mentality applied to the council.

Cramer’s opponents, Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Melode Sapp and private homebuilder Ty Moore, are handing him an unexpected challenge. But don’t expect Cramer to engage in petty politics.

“I’m not playing the game,” Cramer said, “I’m not playing dirty.”

Cramer said that regardless of the issues, open, honest government is the most important thing. In that, Moore agrees.

Between government that votes according to its constituents and politicians who think they know best, Moore falls into the former category.

“I fall into the area where I don’t need a politician to tell me what I need,” Moore said. “A risk is OK, as long as it’s a calculated risk.”

Moore is a newcomer to the political scene, but said he chose to run for Cramer’s seat because of his affinity for economic development.

Sapp and Weatherill are old hands at the comings and goings of Port Orchard politics. Both were raised in South Kitsap, and both represent strong cooperation between councilmembers and the city and county seats.

Weatherill and Chang are both experienced politicians in their own right. Chang has lived on Sidney Avenue downtown for ten years.

Among his priorities is preserving Port Orchard’s quality of life.

Candidates agree that at this point, it’s not about how long they’ve lived in the community, their occupation or how many organizations they belong to — it’s about helping Port Orchard move forward both as a city and as a community.

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