Opinion

26th District deserves better representation

Sound Off is a public forum. Articles are selected from letters to the editor or may be written specifically for this feature. Today, Randy Boss, who is seeking the Democratic nomination to oppose Bob Oke (R-Port Orchard) in November in the race to represent the 26th District in the state Senate, explains why he’s in the race and explains why he switched from Republican to Democrat for this race.

Thank you for the Independent’s fair and accurate reporting of the news and for your reporters’ ability to get to the bottom of a story by actually doing research. I’m referencing the last Wednesday and Saturday stories regarding my filing for state Senate in the 26th District against Bob Oke. I think your readers deserve to hear my side of the story, directly from the candidate’s mouth.

Half of the work force in Kitsap County works for the Navy. Take all the salaries paid to all those people each year and that will not be enough money to pay the tolls on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. Without those dollars available to spread throughout the community, half of the other business in Kitsap County will go out of business. That’s the financial devastation awaiting us if the tolls are allowed to happen.

That is the most important issue facing this community and we all need to understand the magnitude of this event. There is nothing more important to us and our survival than stopping those tolls.

Three years ago Rep. Pat Lantz (D-Gig Harbor) “flip-flopped” on the bridge issue and decided she was going to “fight for fairer tolls,” and Rep. Brock Jackley (D-Manchester) just rode her coat tails without any objections. Over the past two years they both have joined forces with Senator Bob Oke to help these tolls almost become a reality.

Two years ago, Pat Lantz was unopposed in her re-election bid and I simply could not stand by and watch her rain devastation upon my community. In order to raise the debate and the issue I filed as a Republican (one of the two major parties in Washington) and almost won the race. How different things would have been here at home if you had sent me to Olympia instead of Pat Lantz.

Together, Pat, Brock and Bob have now congratulated themselves at ceremony after ceremony for helping the state rob the people of their district of $100 million each year in tolls. That’s before the 30 percent cost overruns we’ll hear about later.

The people of the 26th District deserve better representation than that. They elected officials to go to Olympia and represent their interest. More than 70 percent of the people who voted in the election of 1998 voted against the Narrows Bridge toll project, yet some of our elected officials “flip-flopped,” and others have outright lied to their constituents to get reelected.

Well, enough is enough.

I have one last opportunity to work from the inside to turn the Titanic on these toll projects. As a member of Citizens Against Tolls, I have again worked with the attorneys to prepare another lawsuit that will be filed before the end of August to fight the battle in the courts. But, as you saw after our last Supreme Court victory, our elected officials will simply change the law that they broke.

This is not an issue of Republican vs. Democrat. This is an issue of representation, of representing the people of the 26th District. The Republican Party is more angry at me for filing against their “12-year shoe-in” candidate Bob Oke than the Democratic Party is for me filing as a D. The Democrats are only angry because I will now have the podium to discuss the issues and expose how poorly all of our 26th District officials (D and R alike) have represented this District in Olympia.

Is Randy Boss a D or an R? Who cares? The answer is I’m just like you — I’m both, depending on the issues. No one is 100 percent D and no one is 100 percent R. If they say they are, then they can’t represent all the people of their district.

If the Democrat Party would have taken just one minute to give me a phone call and ask me two or three questions on where I stand on any issue I would have given their explosive response some credibility.

Jean Brooks, chair of the Pierce County Democratic Party, is quoted as saying, “I would want to ask them very, very deep questions about why they had switched parties and why they now chose our organization. The parties want to be very familiar with that person and know his stance on all the issues.”

Well Jean, actions speak louder than words.

At the end of the day (Nov. 5, 2002), it will be the people who decide this question — not the parties. I decided to run as a candidate for the Senate to represent all of the 26th District, not just the Rs or just the Ds, but all the people.

I’ll put my trust in the people of the 26th District to decide who will represent their interest in Olympia and not in a handful of party organizers who are more interested in their parties then in the people they profess to represent.

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