Opinion

Whoever wins, SK will have an advocate again

Unless another candidate emerges soon who’s more accomplished or qualified than either Jan Angel or Kim Abel, it appears at least one of the two Washington state House of Representatives members from the 26th District for the next two years will be from South Kitsap.

It’s also pretty clear that whoever wins the seat will be a marked improvement over incumbent Pat Lantz, who announced this week she wouldn’t seek re-election. But for the moment let’s just stick with geographical advantages.

Since 2006, when Larry Seaquist replaced Olalla resident Lois McMahan as the Position 2 state representative from the 26th District and Derek Kilmer assumed Port Orchard resident Bob Oke’s seat in the state Senate, South Kitsap’s political leadership in Olympia has been totally Democratic and totally Gig Harbor.

Depending on your political leanings, the former may not be a problem for you, but it’s hard to argue as a South Kitsap constituent that the latter isn’t.

Simply put, although South Kitsap shares many common concerns with its neighbors in Pierce County, the two communities are different in a number of fundamental respects.

Gig Harbor, at its core, is an upscale bedroom community for Tacoma, while Port Orchard and South Kitsap tend to be more rural and middle-class in nature.

Consequently, while Gig Harbor residents are largely content to preserve their suburban lifestyle and service-based economy, the need for real economic development is more acute in South Kitsap.

Elected representatives who live on that side of the divide and visit here only in the course of their official duties can profess to understand and work for local objectives, but when the needs of South Kitsap conflict with those of Gig Harbor, do you really have confidence a legislative delegation made up entirely of Gig Harbor residents would put ours first?

For selfish reasons, we’d love to see all the 26th District lawmakers be from South Kitsap. But at a minimum, it doesn’t seem like too much to ask to have at least one out of three.

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