Opinion

An SK resident in Olympia? What a novel concept

South Kitsap’s loss on the Board of County Commissioners could turn out to be gain in Olympia if Kitsap County Commissioner Jan Angel is successful in her just-announced bid to unseat longtime state Rep. Pat Lantz.

From our standpoint, what Angel would bring to the race — in addition to views with which we’ve generally agreed — is a strong and viable candidate who would represent the interests of South Kitsap.

As things currently stand, all three of the state representatives from the 26th District — Lantz, Rep. Larry Seaquist and state Sen. Derek Kilmer — are not only Democrats but also residents of Gig Harbor. Naturally, all three would argue passionately that they understand and work hard to support those issues near and dear to the hearts of South Kitsap residents, but let’s face it: Gig Harbor and Port Orchard aren’t the same place, and sometimes our interests aren’t the same.

Case in point, a few months ago the Pierce County Council member who represents Gig Harbor suggested taking the funding already set aside to expand the Burley-Olalla interchange and instead improving the exit in Gig Harbor nearest to all of the commercial development there.

The idea never went anywhere because the funding, once approved, can’t be reallocated for a different project. But it begs the question, what if something like that had been possible and all three of the 26th District’s representatives — those who had to decide whether to favor the interests of the Kitsap or Pierce County — lived there instead of here?

Since the retirement of Sen. Bob Oke, Port Orchard hasn’t had a voice of its own in Olympia. Angel, who has strong support here, has a realistic chance of changing that.

Meanwhile, now we have to worry again about whether the next South Kitsap commissioner is one who has the support of the majority of Kitsap voters. Angel always did, but because of the cockeyed setup that allows voters from throughout the county to vote for commissioners in the general election, there’s no guarantee that will continue.

As recently as 1996 to 2000, SK was represented by a commissioner who didn’t win a majority of votes in South Kitsap but won because of her support in North Kitsap and Bainbridge Island. Whoever replaces Angel, we at least hope it’s someone his or her own constituents can support wholeheartedly.

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