Opinion

A competitive mayor's race? It's about time

Like most political candidates — particularly novice ones — Kim Abel’s announcement that she intends to run for mayor of Port Orchard was long on generalities like “communication” and “commitment” and short on specifics. And it’s possible we’ll find many areas of disagreement with Abel as the campaign heats up.

Nonetheless, for now we’re extremely pleased to see her in the race — and we’re hoping more like her step up next month when candidates are required to file officially for office.

Jay Weatherill has been Port Orchard’s mayor for the past 20 years, and there’s no reason to think he couldn’t hold the post for another 20 years if that’s what the voters want. But we believe the residents of this community are entitled to the best leadership they can get, and it seems reasonable to assume the best leaders will be culled from the largest and most qualified slate of candidates.

Weatherill’s opponents the past two times he’s been up for re-election, in 1985 and 1989, may have been well-meaning, but they were woefully lacking in the kind of credentials voters look for in a leader and, as a result, Weatherill won without so much as breaking a sweat.

Abel’s presence alone assures the road back into the mayor’s chair won’t be an easy one this time around. A lawyer by trade, Abel has worked as an attorney for the Washington Public Power Supply System (WPPSS), serves on the BKAT Advisory Board, the city’s Solid Waste Advisory Board and the South Kitsap Community Park Advisory Board.

She’s also well-connected in local political circles, having spent the past three years serving as president of the Kitsap County League of Women Voters.

Whatever else she may turn out to be, Abel is a serious contender — probably the first truly qualified opponent Weatherill has faced in at least eight years.

And we hear other potential candidates considering throwing their hats in the ring as well.

All of which is clearly in the best interests of Port Orchard. A little competition never hurt anyone. May the best man — or woman — win.

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