Opinion

Republican label rubs off on some good local candidates

Now that the 2006 election has just about jelled, let me get a few more things about it off my chest before we get caught up in Thanksgiving and Christmas.
I live in an area heavily populated by active and retired Navy personnel because of the presence of several large military installations, including a shipyard and a submarine base. I have no way of knowing their political leanings because while on active duty, they are Hatched (forbidden to take part in partisan politics). Although retired officers frequently run historically, as a group, they are considered more conservative than liberal.
A retired captain, Larry Seaquist of Gig Harbor, ran for the Legislature in the 26th District this year as a Democrat. A retired lieutenant commander, Jack Hamilton of Silverdale ran for Kitsap County Commissioner as a Republican after defeating the incumbent in the primary.
Now if you were voting for county commissioner, which would you pick, a 67-year-old retired Navy officer and academy graduate whose resume reads first chief staff officer for Submarine Squadron 17, executive officer at the Trident Training Facility, who has been responsible for planning and implementing multi-million dollar budgets and overseeing the jobs of 3,000 personnel, as well as a lengthy community service history such as president of United Way, and has lived here for 26 years, or
A 25-year-old recent graduate from UC at Berkeley with a BA in interdisciplinary studies, who was born and raised in Vallejo, Calif., because his shipyard supervisor father was assigned there. He attended high school here from 1994 to 1999 when his father was sent here. After high school he went back to California to college and left a good paying job there, he said, to return here to work as a negotiator in commercial real estate sales, a job he quit to file for county commissioner as a Democrat.
Who can blame him? It pays $87,256 a year.
If you were going to hire someone to run your $300 million corporation with its 1,268 employees, which would it be, a 67-year-old seasoned citizen with a history of management experience, or a 25-year-old fresh out of college dipping his toe into politics for the first time?
Well, the voters of Kitsap County chose the college student. Why? Because he had a D after his name instead of an R. The fever in the nation to repudiate the president, the Congress and the Republican party burned all the way down to the courthouse.
Commissioner-elect Josh Brown got 58 percent to Jack Hamiltons 42 percent. Since Kitsap is about one third Democrat, one third Republican and one third independent, that means he probably got most of the independents and some Republicans too.
Unknown at this point, and maybe one of them will tell me, is how and why the vast Navy-related population joined in that decision. Was it disenchantment with the administrations handling of the war in Iraq, despite what we hear and read of the pride our service people take in doing the job? Was it disgust at the corruption of some members, information that Democrats were mum on until just before the election to reap the maximum effect? Was it the excessive pork barreling by the supposedly thrifty GOP? Was it the diddling around over the immigration problem?
Kitsapers also dumped the only Republican legislator among their six, Rep. Beverly Woods, who had a solid record of going to bat for her constituents and winning, for a former Bainbridge Island councilwoman who had the proper D after her name.
Oh, Capt. Seaquist in the 26th? He won. He was a D.

Adele Ferguson can be reached at P.O. Box 69, Hansville, WA, 98340.

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