Opinion

Kitsap Republicans unified, motivated

Infused with new blood and wiser after years and scars from intra-party battling, Kitsap Republicans passed a nice, clean platform at their county convention Saturday — one guaranteed to offend nobody — and left vowing to keep the White House and take back Congress, the governor’s office, the Legislature and the courthouse.

A beaming county chair Jack Hamilton declared, “I thought that a group of well-behaved, well-informed, inspired Republicans gathered to do the work of the party and succeeded.”

They met in their usual place, the Four Corners Church, and the pews were packed to the walls. There were 313 voting participants out of a crowd of 352.

They started promptly at 9 a.m. and wrapped up at 5 p.m., spending most of that time voting on delegates to the state convention in Spokane.

The reason it took so long, Hamilton said, was because this is a hot year and everybody wanted to be a delegate, but they were limited to 21 in the First County Commissioner district, 18 in the second, 17 in the Third.

Their keynote speaker, state GOP chair Luke Esser, sent his regrets with no explanation for why.

Dino Rossi, their prospect for governor, sent a recorded greeting. A handful of candidates gave their pitches. A surprise visitor was former County Commissioner Patty Lent, whom Hamilton beat in a primary election and then lost in the general but who invited her to attend.

The applause at her introduction was polite from a crowd that failed to endorse her for re-election.

Attendants learned, most for the first time, of a reoccurrence of cancer in their one-time state senator, Ellen Craswell, and her admittance to a nursing home. (Mrs. Craswell died later that day.)

They kicked things off with rousing renditions of patriotic songs led by a student group who put on a show called “Stars and Stripes.”

Hamilton ran a tight ship, interspersed with gags about liberal Democrats. Sample: A liberal Democrat is one who wants to give every federal employee the day off on Dec. 25, but it’s not OK to say “Merry Christmas.”

They were supposed to wrap up by 2:30, but they didn’t get around to the platform until 4. It was a one-page listing of the core principles of the party, Hamilton said, and a big improvement over the 12 pager proposed by the state party “that had things in it no reasonable candidate could possibly support.”

The plan was to pass Kitsap’s effort in one fell swoop, but that old bugaboo, abortion, got in the way when one diehard in the audience wanted to “put more teeth in it.”

That meant they had to plough through plank by plank, which they did, emphasizing a reduced government, limited taxation, control of education at the local level, etc.

No surprises.

At last they reached the part where Jay Carlson wanted to replace the last three words in the sentence, “We support the protection of innocent human life in all stages,” with “from conception to natural death.”

That implies not being able to “pull the plug” on folks who might want and need that, said opponents.

Carlson’s amendment failed, 73-87.

The only other argument was when they rejected the “no-pass” recommendation on a resolution that said no union dues could be used to support political candidates or parties.

Instead, it passed, with 115 votes out of the 140 or so delegates still on hand. They’re not supposed to use union dues for politics anyway, but make such expenditures voluntary.

When all was said and done, delegates gathered up their campaign literature and headed out to go make war on the Democrats instead of each other.

Adele Ferguson can be reached at

PO Box 69, Hansville, WA 98340.

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