Dems will challenge Lent with 25-year-old

After a lengthy recruitment process, the Kitsap County Democratic Party has found a candidate to run in the District 3 commissioner spot against incumbent Patty Lent.

Josh Brown, 25, currently works as a commercial real estate broker. A graduate of North Kitsap High School and the University of California at Berkeley (where he studied city and regional planning), he has worked as a management consultant, as well as on Sen. Maria Cantwell’s 2000 campaign.

“We have a high standard of livability and an excellent quality of life in Kitsap County,” Brown said. “We need to attract new businesses to the county and do what we can to keep the federal jobs that are already here.

“I don’t think we have very strong leadership,” he said. “I think I can do better.”

Brown was one of three candidates considered by a search committee, according to Kitsap Democratic Party Chair Sharon Peterson. The other two declined to run.

Peterson said the party would not endorse Brown right away. A committee meeting in early March will vote to approve his candidacy, and an endorsement will follow when it is clear that no other candidates will emerge.

Lent, a Republican, is facing a challenge within her party from Silverdale resident Jack Hamilton. Lent, often the commission’s “swing vote,” has come under criticism for her voting record on land-use issue, which her detractors feel conflicts with her campaign promises.

Brown said his strategy may differ whether he runs against Hamilton or Lent, but declined to say which would be easier to beat.

Brown said he has not made up his mind about the proposed NASCAR racetrack, but like other Democrats, he firmly opposes the use of any public funding for its construction.

At 25, Brown is almost two and a half times younger than Lent, but he feels this will not be a disadvantage.

“I already have a lot of experience in land use,” he said. “And I would be the only one on the commission with an educational background in that subject.” Peterson said that Brown’s age “could be a problem” but points out that youth is not unprecedented in the Democratic Party.

Rep. Derek Kilmer was elected to the state Legislature when he was just 28.

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