Unopposed council candidates campaign, sort of

Two Port Orchard City Council races are contested, while two others are unopposed and will be elected to another term by acclamation.

The unopposed candidates are still participating in candidate forums, however, and are attempting to position themselves for another term.

“Having an opponent helps to clarify your own position,” said Councilman Jerry Childs. “I miss the opportunity to participate in the debate. If you want your voice to be heard, there needs to be someone you can bounce off of.”

Childs was first elected in 2007 to a two-year at-large term in a contested race.

Councilman Rob Putaansuu, meanwhile, was appointed in 2006 and ran an uncontested race in 2007 to fill an unexpired term.

Former City Councilman Rick Wyatt declared his candidacy for the seat but subsequently withdrew, assuring Putaansuu of a four-year term.

Unlike Childs, Putaansuu has expressed relief that he does not have to run a campaign.

He has appeared at two candidate forums but plans no other campaign activity, and has not put up any signs.

Childs has only one campaign sign, which he has put in front of his home on Kitsap Street.

Putaansuu moved to Port Orchard in the 1970s as a child and graduated from South Kitsap High School.

He is now a manager and loan officer at Columbia Bank, and has worked with the Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce and the city planning commission.

“I see myself as part of the positive change that has happened in the city,” he said. “We have a council that works well together, a good city staff and a good mayor.

“I would like to see more annexation,” Putaansuu said, “and development of the downtown into a workable pedestrian community.”

Childs is a more recent transplant to Port Orchard, moving here after serving for 40 years as a Seattle firefighter.

He served as co-chairman of the recent Cedar Cove Days event, and is working on its possible followup.

“I didn’t run for council because I wanted to be a councilman,” Childs said. “I ran because I was concerned about what was going on downtown. I was elected as an unknown. I wasn’t elected because I had a pretty face, or because I knew a lot of people. I was elected because a lot of people knew I had their interests at heart.

“I believe tourism is economic development in travel clothes,” he said. “When we bring people into town, we get the opportunity for them to leave their money on the table and go home. It doesn't impact the city in any negative way. It’s a green industry.”

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