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Posts Tagged ‘Jan Angel’

One more on the homeless bill, and then we are likely done for maybe three years

Saturday, March 15th, 2014

Ed Friedrich’s story on the bill that prolonged a real estate transaction fee to pay for housing for the homeless gives a good synopsis of what went down. We’ve paid a lot of attention to this bill in some part because of state Sen. Jan Angel’s role in stopping it from going to the floor from her committee.

Hours before the session ended Angel was able to introduce the final version of the bill that keeps the funding going, but also addresses some problems Angel and others had with the overall program.

One of Angel’s objections when the bill was in committee was that this fee is only charged in real estate transactions. While individuals who buy homes, change titles, etc. are the ones paying the fee, Angel suggested it unfair that the real estate industry was the only being asked to shoulder the burden. She has also made the case that the real estate market is cyclical, so funding for the program is subject to the market’s whims.

The final bill passed by the Legislature does not change any of that, but it puts in place the possibility that the state could find a different funding source to either supplement or replace the current fee. Following a performance audit of the program the state will convene a task force that will report on other funding possibilities by the end of 2017. Legislators would then have two years to come up with something different before facing another deadline worse than the one they just faced. Missing this deadline would have seen the fee drop and then go away. Missing the 2019 deadline set by the new legislation means the fee just goes away.

Department of Commerce statistics conclude the program has dropped homelessness in the state by 29 percent overall. For families the number is 74 percent. For individuals it’s 5 percent.

In Kitsap County the drop in homelessness appears to be well above the 50 percent target, but that assumes I’m reading the state Department of Commerce report correctly. I’ll check on Monday. In Mason County it looks like homelessness has actually gone up.

The bill also stipulates that at least 45 percent of the funding wind up in the hands of for-profit landlords. Again, assuming I’m reading the Commerce report correctly, I don’t see where that has been a problem anywhere. In Kitsap County $648,478 went to for-profit landlords in 2012. Another $177,529 went to what the state defines as “public” landlords. Nothing went to non-profits. In Mason County $112,379 went to for-profits, and that was all of it.

In the end eight senators and 22 representatives voted against the program, all of them Republicans. All nine of Kitsap’s legislators voted for it.

Below you can watch the conversation on the Senate floor, a discussion led off by Angel.


Angel at center of controversy over funding for homeless

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

State Sen. Jan Angel, the Republican elected to finish the final year of a four-year term, pulled a parliamentary move she is allowed to in her role as committee co-chair, prompting at least one howl from within her own party and a failed Democratic countermove in the main chamber.

At issue is a bill, House Bill 2368, that helps counties and the state fund programs for the homeless. Counties charge a $40 fee on real estate transactions and apply it toward state and county efforts to assist with rental housing payments, grants for transitional housing, emergency assistance, overnight shelters for young people, emergency shelters, and to help human trafficking victims and their families. Under the legislation originally passed in 2005 the fee was set to go down to $30 next year, and then to $10. This year’s bill would essentially make the $40 fee permanent.

Supporters of the bill argued that attaching the fee to documents related to real estate was appropriate, because reducing homelessness helps protect property values, keeps people out of jail and out of emergency rooms. Opponents contend that real estate fees are not an appropriate way to fund efforts to reduce homelessness and that the law was supposed to be temporary when it was written in 2005.

The bill was among those expected to be heard in a Senate Financial Institutions, Housing and Insurance Committee hearing, but Angel gaveled the meeting before the bill could be discussed. Once the gavel is hit, TVW stops recording video, but there was audio, (Start at 1:03:45) and the first voice complaining about the meeting’s quick conclusion is Republican Sen. Don Benton of Vancouver, who is hardly liberal lion. Benton, in fact, working with a Democrat from the House, had helped create the compromise bill the committee was supposed to consider. Benton asks about 2368 and Angel says, “The meeting is now adjourned.” Benton expresses disappointment. State Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, who co-chairs the committee said the bill was a bipartisan/bicameral piece of legislation everyone had agreed to, to which Angel said all parties are not in agreement. “We’ll continue to work on this during interim,” she said, to create a bill that works.

Hobbs told the (Tacoma) News Tribune that Angel was operating with orders from Senate Majority Coalition Caucus Leader Rodney Tom. Angel denied it, saying even if he had issued orders, “I work for the people of my district.”

On Friday Senate Democrats issued a statement that included comment from another Kitsap senator. “In my district, and in districts across the state, this is the most important source of funding we have to help the homeless,” said Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island. “People are playing politics with an issue that should be supported by everyone. There shouldn’t even be a second thought.”

The bill was an amended version that had passed out of the House with a 62-36 vote. All six Kitsap legislators in the House voted for the bill.

Democrats tried to pull a procedural move to get the bill heard on the main floor, but the majority caucus, including Benton, held firm in denying them. The News Tribune said the bill could be part of last-minute dealmaking before the session ends March 13.


This is news: Angel bills get hearings

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

Over the first five years of Jan Angel’s legislative career one of her laments has been that her bills don’t get the attention they deserve because she was in the minority in the House chamber.

With Angel’s ascent into the Senate, that has all changed. On Monday her office issued a press release announcing that eight of her bills were getting hearings. We wrote about one of them, the bill that would allow a man who can prove he is not the father of a child to relinquish rights and responsibilities (i.e. child support) of parenthood.

In the Senate Law & Justice Committee hearing on that bill, SB 5997, Angel led off by testifying on the paternity bill, then was allowed to testify on another of her bills, one dealing with first class cities being able to employ warrant officers, so she could leave that committee to go address Angel-authored legislation in other committees.

Even more Angel news: Members of the Senate Majority Coalition want Angel to co-chair the Senate Financial Institutions, Housing and Insurance Committee with Lake Stevens Democrat Steve Hobbs. Angel does have some experience in banking and coalition leaders say they want to take advantage of that, according to the story by the (Tacoma) News Tribune’s Jordan Schrader.

No one will blame you, though, if you suspect some of this is designed to elevate Angel’s stature in Olympia, especially given that she faces re-election in November. Her opponent last November, one-year appointee Democrat Nathan Schlicher, got the opposite treatment, or so some suspect. If politics are at play, that could have an impact on whether legislation Angel supports gets enthusiastic, or any, treatment in the House.

Even if there are no political forces at play, bills often take more than one session to make it to final passage. First drafts will often have problems that are not identified until they get hearings, or at least introduced. Also , this is a short session and the time frame is crunched, something Angel referenced in her press release. Getting the eight bills heard is a good start, a great start, but any bill has to get passed in the House, too, which means someone over there is going to have to consider it a priority.

On the paternity bill Angel had expected there to be a companion bill in the House. This legislation, or some form of it, was originally introduced in the House during 2011-12 session by state Rep. Maureen Walsh, R-Walla Walla. Walsh and fellow Republican Hans Zeiger of Puyallup had thought to reintroduce the bill in the House, but according to a House Republican Caucus spokesman have decided not to, because the Senate bill was already moving.

If you want to watch the conversation about the paternity bill, it’s on the video below. It’s the first item of discussion, is interrupted briefly by the bill about warrants so Angel can go to another committee. Below the video is the text of Angel’s press release.

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Kitsap legislators (re)assume leadership posts.

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Kitsap legislators have received their leadership assignments for what’s supposed to be the short legislative session that began this week.

State Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island, was named Senate Democratic floor leader. According to a Senate Democrats statement the floor leader’s role is to “help manage the action on the Senate floor, and to work across the aisle to ensure the debate runs smoothly. The floor leader is also the caucus point person on parliamentary procedure.” Rolfes is also the assistant ranking member on the Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee.

Potlatch state Sen. Tim Sheldon, one of two Democrats in the Senate Majority Coalition, returns as Senate president pro tempore, which means he runs the Senate floor from up front, wielding the big gavel whenever Lt. Gov. Brad Owen is not there. Sheldon is also vice chairman of two committees, Rules and Energy, Environment & Telecommunications.

New Sen. Jan Angel, elected in November, is vice chairwoman of the Senate Trade and Economic Development Committee.

Three Democrats in the House will chair committees this session. State Rep. Sherry Appleton of Poulsbo chairs the Community Development, Housing & Tribal Affairs Committee. Kathy Haigh of Shelton is chairwoman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Education. Gig Harbor’s Larry Seaquist will chair the Higher Education Committee. Bainbridge Island’s Drew Hansen is vice chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

Republican Drew MacEwen of Union is the assistant ranking minority member on two committees, the Capital Budget Committee and the Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee.


Tweet the state House Republicans

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

Washington State House Republicans will hold a Twitter town hall forum from 12:30 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. Monday. State Rep. Dan Kristiansen and J.T. Wilcox will answer Tweeted questions.

Use the hashtag #solutionsWA.

The party’s press release is below.

No word on when the counties will meet to replace Jan Angel in the House. Josh Brown’s replacement on the commission might happen Monday afternoon.

Washington House Republicans to host Twitter town hall January 9

Washington House Republicans will host the Legislature’s first-ever Twitter town hall, January 9, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. Participants can ask House Republican leadership members Rep. Dan Kristiansen and Rep. J.T. Wilcox a 140-character question using the hashtag #solutionsWA.

House Republicans are not the only government entity to make use of this communications trend nationwide. President Obama held a Twitter town hall last July.

“This event will enable people to ask questions and provide their ideas in the days leading up to the 2014 legislative session,” said House Republican Leader Dan Kristiansen, R-Snohomish. “This is a new platform for us. We look forward to hearing from Washingtonians on the issues that are important to them.”

According to Pew Research, nearly one in 10 U.S. adults uses Twitter to share information. And, more than 50 million people in the U.S. use Twitter to get news. However, just like all social media, Twitter has its limitations. Participants and the responding representatives will only have 140 characters to relay their questions, answers and ideas.

“It’s our job as elected officials to involve the public at every opportunity. This is why we use a variety of forums like Twitter, which has a lot of active followers that we may not otherwise hear from on statewide legislative issues,” said House Republican Floor Leader J.T. Wilcox, R-Yelm.

The public is encouraged to participate in the January 9 Twitter town hall using #solutionsWA. Those unable to participate or have trouble with #solutionsWA can visit the House Republicans’ Twitter page @WaHouseGOP.

Visit www.houserepublicans.wa.gov for more information about House Republican members, solutions and results.


That’s Senator Angel now

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013
Jan Angel (center) with daughters Erin Brinkerhoff (left) and Kara Morkert (right).

Jan Angel (center) with daughters Erin Brinkerhoff (left) and Kara Morkert (right).

Jan Angel, former county commissioner and Republican state representative in the 26th Legislative District since 2009, took the oath of office to be the district’s state Senator on Tuesday.

Angel defeated Nathan Schlicher, who in January was appointed by Pierce and Kitsap county officials, in November to hold the Senate seat for one year. Angel will hold the seat the final year of the term Derek Kilmer was elected to in 2010. Kilmer, a Democrat, is now in Congress. Angel has already begun fundraising for the 2014 campaign when she plans to seek a full four-year term.

Republicans might not get a replacement for Angel before the Legislative session begins on Jan. 13, but that could depend on how quickly Kitsap County commissioners are willing to move. The GOP’s 26th Legislative District precinct committee officers chose Jesse Young as its top choice to replace Angel, followed by Adam Berman and Doug Cloud. All are from Gig Harbor.

The ultimate decision rests with commissioners from Kitsap County and Pierce County council members. As it stands now, it seems unlikely they would meet before Jan. 6. That’s the first date for a meeting of just Kitsap County commissioners and one of the first items of business for them will be selecting a replacement for Josh Brown, who is leaving the board for a position with the Puget Sound Regional Council. Assuming the commissioners would want a full board in making the 26th Legislative District selection, it seems unlikely they would schedule a meeting before Jan. 7.

A Jan. 7 selection meeting would be on time for the Legislature, but it would not give the new state representative any ability to officially craft legislation, choose staff and move into office space well before the session begins.


One more TV spot on the 26th

Monday, November 4th, 2013

In case you needed just one more television look at the candidates for the 26th Legislative District, here is KBTC’s Northwest Now take. If you’re tired of all this television, you can probably rest assured that none of our districts will get this much attention next year.


Jan Angel and Nathan Schlicher stick to the issues on TVW

Friday, November 1st, 2013

TVW’s “Impact” did a half-hour show on the 26th Legislative District Senate race. State Sen. Nathan Schlicher, D-Gig Harbor and state Rep. Jan Angel, R-Port Orchard, both stick to issues and their own strengths. In other words, neither talks about the money or slams the other candidate.


Hooray! More mostly bogus advertising in the 26th LD race!

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

We’re less than a week away from seeing election results, but the ads keep on coming. Assuming there might be someone still undecided out there it seemed worthwhile to look at some of the claims and see how much truth we can find. Some of the claims are in new ads. Some are classics.

First, a couple pieces of advice.

  • 1. Question any ad that makes a conclusion based on one piece of legislation.
  • 2. Question any ad that makes a claim based on one part of a single piece of legislation.
  • 3. Question any ad by a politician or group characterizing the opposition’s views.
  • 4. Know that many of the details in campaign ads are true, but they don’t necessarily tell a true story.
  • 5. Assume every single campaign advertisement could be lying to you.

CLAIM: “SHAMEFUL: Schlicher Takes Advantage of Senator’s Choice to Breastfeed”
THE STORY: There is a true story here that doesn’t make Democrats look good even under the most flattering lights. Party leaders deny the worst accusations about the incident, and how much Schlicher was to blame for it is a bigger question. This ad comes from the state Republican Party. The Good Government Coalition also funded a similar ad. I refer you to Washington State Wire and Crosscut stories that discuss the incident. The short version is that a Republican senator who regularly took breaks to nurse her baby was excused from the floor. On one occasion Democrats took advantage of her absence to push a Schlicher-sponsored bill dealing with administrative costs for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge to a vote. The bill had the support of 11 of 12 senators in committee. The ad says Schlicher “helped lead an effort by his party for a power play.” It was his bill, sure. He certainly would have benefited politically had it passed. And the Democrats issued a press release after the incident in which Schlicher was quoted. But another Democrat, Seattle’s David Frockt, was the one blamed for pushing the vote. He and other Democrats said they didn’t know the absent senator was off breastfeeding. If you’re skeptical of that, I can’t blame you.

CLAIM: Jan Angel chose tax loopholes for deceased multi-millionaires over education for our kids.
THE STORY:
Angel is a “no new taxes” enthusiast, which gives an organization like She’s Changed PAC, the advertiser here, ample fodder to make statements like Angel likes (insert bad thing here) more than (insert good thing here). Angel’s side employs the same technique. Angel is unlikely to vote for any new tax on the belief that the state can fund its priorities with existing revenues. In this case Angel was opposed to the Legislature’s decision to change state law in response to a state Supreme Court ruling that would have forced the state to refund $160 million in estate taxes to people who can legitimately be called multi-millionaires. The money the state held onto did go to education, so there’s the link between rich people and our kids. The problem is that Angel might be right that the state could eventually have to pay back this money. The Legislature essentially clarified the intent of an older law and applied that clarification retroactively.

CLAIM: Representative Jan Angel chose tax loopholes for Big Oil companies over our kids’ schools.
THE STORY:
This is essentially a new version of the anti-Angel claim above. She’s hawkish on taxes, and considers closing loopholes a new tax. The argument on a She’s Changed PAC flyer makes a lucid and issue-driven argument against Angel’s position on tax loopholes for oil, except for where it definitively links that position with schools. Again, Angel says “Fund education first,” then fund everything else, so she could be for that money, but not when it comes from that tax. Most either/or arguments like this are “either” misleading “or” false. Fund education first, she says, satisfies the state constitution. Schlicher counters that there are other funding mandates required under the constitution, too, so Angel’s suggestion for a funding formula puts other constitutionally mandated programs at risk.

CLAIM: Schlicher opposes the voter-approved 2/3rds majority to raise taxes.
THE STORY:
People for Jobs, Enterprise Washington uses an email Schlicher sent to a constituent. At least most of the ads get it right that Schlicher thinks the Supreme Court was right to overturn the voter initiative, but they leave out the rest of his position. Here’s the quote from a letter he wrote to Kelly Haughton: “While I do agree with the court decision that the initiative was unconstitutional, the message was clear: taxes should not be the default solution of the government in times of fiscal crisis. I support the will of the people to consider a constitutional amendment on the issue and will vote for a reasonable version of an amendment.” Where Republicans can take bigger issue is that he doesn’t think corporate tax loopholes that don’t provide a benefit to the state (And that is the reason to establish a loophole.) should be subject to the 2/3 standard.

CLAIM: “Nathan Schlicher voted against a bill for early intervention to help all students read by the 4th grade, instead favoring the special interests of a campaign contributor.”
THE STORY:
This references Senate Bill 5946, which in part addressed reading skills for third graders. The original version of the bill had no funding provided to local districts, yet directed districts what they were to do. In other places that’s called an “unfunded mandate.” One of the solutions suggested for kids in third grade was discussing whether the student should stay in third grade. Schlicher argued that keeping kids in third grade would be the default solution, because the bill provided no money for anything else. The bill passed by four votes in the Senate, went to the House and came back to the Senate. The final bill had funding. Schlicher voted for that version, which passed the Senate in a 46-2 vote.

CLAIM: “When insurance companies wanted to eliminate basic care like mammograms and maternity care, Jan Angel sponsored House Bill 1804 that would cut our benefits.”
THE STORY:
We’ve addressed this one before, but it keeps coming up in part because Angel has expressed so much outrage over the claim, citing her own personal history of having one third of her breast removed. The Seattle Times ruled that a TV commercial saying Angel “led efforts to eliminate coverage for mammograms,” was “Mostly false.” The Times was right on that ad. But wait, there is more. Angel co-sponsored a bill that would have removed all state mandates on insurance coverage, conditions and services government requires insurance companies to cover. The bill would have exchanged state rules for the mandates under the Affordable Care Act. Had the bill passed, mammogram coverage would have still been required, but only for women 40 and above and not for immigrants. Some women would have lost coverage under the bill. Men get breast cancer, too. The state requires coverage for their mammograms and the ACA does not. Additionally, Angel has stated she is against the Affordable Care Act, even though her voting record is mixed on funding state implementation of the federal law, according to the (Tacoma) News Tribune. So, Angel is against the Affordable Care Act, yet she voted to remove state mandates in favor of ACA rules. This becomes a question of whether Angel supports any government mandates about health insurance. In a campaign questionnaire she wrote that she favored a free market, “menu driven/choice plan.” So if she had her way and insurers got to offer the plans they wanted, would they all stop covering mammograms? In theory they could, but insurance companies wouldn’t stay in business if they didn’t cover anything. Is Angel absolute about her thoughts on insurance companies? I’ve asked and I can’t get an answer. I tried to ask her after the Oct. 3 forum in Gig Harbor if the state mandate bill had passed and Obamacare went away, would she want government somewhere to require insurance companies to cover mammograms? She said she couldn’t answer a hypothetical question. I’ve forwarded a similar question, “Should any government tell insurance companies what they have to cover?” and have received no answer. So, yes, details in this claim are wrong, but until Angel definitively says she is for or against mandates I have a hard time raising the finish flag on the issue.

Cheer up. There’s only one more week of this. It will be months before it all starts again. In these final few days if you’ve seen any other claims you question, let us know and we’ll see if we can dig into it.


Video of Angel, Schlicher and reporters on KING-5 from Sunday

Monday, October 28th, 2013

State Rep. Jan Angel, R-Port Orchard, and state Sen. Nathan Schlicher, D-Gig Harbor, were the focus of a KING-5 piece on Sunday. The (Tacoma) News Tribune’s Jordan Schrader were also asked about the race. The video follows …

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KING 5 hosts Angel and Schlicher, and a couple of reporters

Friday, October 25th, 2013

Friday morning Jan Angel and Nathan Schlicher sat down with Mark Wright at KING-5 for a segment that will air Sunday morning.

Wright also invited Tacoma News Tribune political reporter Jordan Schrader and me to weigh in once the candidates left.

Both spots will air sometime between 7:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. Sunday. Each segment was around five minutes.

Schrader and I were in what I think you would call a “control room” while the candidates talked. I don’t want to provide any spoilers, so you’ll have to watch it to see it. What won’t be on air, though, is the candidates apparently kept on debating well after the cameras stopped rolling. Everything I’ve heard secondhand and could see on the monitors suggested it got a little testy. Nothing too outrageous, but oh, how I wished I could hear what they were saying.

In the control room one of the directors wearing headphones said afterward that they were still talking, like it was a surprise. Another one said they were laughing, but the first director then said that it was “awkward.” They both were out of there before Schrader and I taped.

Enjoy it, if five and five minutes of political talk is your thing.


Audio from Angel’s press conference

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

State Rep. Jan Angel, R-Port Orchard, conducted a press conference Thursday in which she called on She’s Changed PAC, the committee advertising against her, to return $455,000 to Thomas Steyer, the California billionaire who is spending heavily throughout the country.

Here is the audio:

 

Angel and the state Republican Party argue a $3 million donation Steyer made to his own PAC was illegal. She called on Democratic state Sen. Nathan Schlicher, D-Gig Harbor, to call on She’s Changed PAC to return the money. She also wanted Steyer prosecuted by the Attorney General’s office and the Public Disclosure Commission.

The PDC has since spoken with representatives from Steyer’s PAC and were assured, even before the donation, that the group would be spending no more money in Washington.

Lori Anderson, PDC spokeswoman, said the PDC is fine with that.


UPDATED: State GOP says late Steyer donations to his own PAC illegal

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

The state Republican Party is asking the Public Disclosure Commission to file an injunction against the NextGen Climate Action Committee sponsored by Thomas Steyer to prevent the committee from spending $3 million Steyer donated on Friday.

Lori Anderson, PDC spokeswoman, said within the final three weeks of an election the most a political committee can receive from a single source is $5,000, unless the committee is addressing a ballot initiative.

The committee will have the opportunity to address the complaint. “We will send the complaint to the committee that’s alleged to have received the contribution and they have to defend what they’ve done,” Anderson said.

State GOP Party Chairwoman Susan Hutchison said in a statement, “Senator Nathan Schlicher needs to answer this question: will you repudiate this illegal spending by an outside donor or do you want the people of Pierce and Kitsap County to be represented by someone bought and paid for with illegal out of state money?”

“I would hope that everyone follows the PDC’s rules and that they don’t spend money on our campaign or any campaign in the state. I agree that everyone should follow PDC laws.” Schlicher said. “No one should participate in illegal spending.”

Schlicher said the WSRP’s release trying to link him to the donation is in line with other attacks, such as a mailer that went out suggesting that Schlicher is no longer a doctor and was practicing law again. “This is just another unfortunate attempt to exaggerate and mislead the public and I hope people see through this,” he said.

NextGen now reports $9.3 million in donations. The GOP is probably correct that $455,000 of it has gone to the Schlicher-Angel contest, (I found $400,000 and the party connected other dots and was probably correct.) far more NextGen money has gone to campaigns in other states. I don’t know that this is unprecedented, but it’s not something I’ve seen a lot, if at all. I’ve contacted NextGen’s rep in Sacramento for a response to the complaint and an explanation of the committee’s reported spending elsewhere. If I receive a return call I’ll report it here.

UPDATE: Angel just announced she’s having a press conference Thursday morning on this subject.

UPDATE II: NextGen responded:

NextGen Climate Action released the following statement today:

“Jan Angel is trying to distract from her positions that are harmful to the health of kids and families in Washington. Our lawyers spoke with the Public Disclosure Commission prior to making the contribution and they agreed that the 21 day rule does not apply to FEC registered committees. We are in full compliance with all Washington election laws.”

Matthew Lewis
spokesman

Lewis also confirmed that none of the money donated on the 18th will be spent in Washington. “We’re not concerned about the legal issues at all,” he said.

More as it develops.

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All tied up in the 26th?

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

Seattle native Reid Wilson wrote a blog piece for the Washington Post. Given that it’s aimed at a national audience that hasn’t paid a whole lot of attention to our state’s race, the piece goes over pretty much everything that has been covered here.

Except for one thing.

Reid mentions that both parties are polling and showing the race to be “virtually tied.”

This could be attributed to both parties wanting to make sure none of their faithful stay home. In other words, they could be lying. But I have heard this before in more than one off-the-record conversation.

Angel won by nine points in the primary. After that win I looked at past elections to see if a primary loss that large was insurmountable. Schlicher would need the needle to move five percentage points in his direction to win (because that would also mean the needle was moving five points away from Angel). Tim Probst did it in the 17th District in 2010, turning a six-point primary loss into a six-point general election win. It can happen. It doesn’t happen often, but it can.


Jan Angel is talking to the media again

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

State Rep. Jan Angel, the Port Orchard Republican running for a state Senate seat against appointed incumbent state Sen. Nathan Schlicher, a Gig Harbor Democrat, issued a press release Tuesday explaining that she will do interviews with the media. She listed four television appearances she will be making in the coming days.

This follows our story Sunday, As 26th campaign winds down, Angel silent to media requests, and declined invitations to KUOW and the Associated Press. I knew Angel had declined AP’s request, but didn’t put it in the Sunday story in case she changed her mind before the AP story ran Monday.

We wrote the Angel/media story, not out of any personal indignation. People refuse to talk to us all the time. It doesn’t happen often in a political campaign, so we thought it an interesting strategy for a campaign to be silent to the media. We talked to a couple of political experts who weighed in, one who provided several reasons why that would be the preferred option.

Angel’s press release from Wednesday Tuesday states, “Rep. Jan Angel’s position on accommodating media interviews remains unchanged.”

As mentioned before, last week Angel turned down requests from the Associated Press, KUOW and us. The press release doesn’t mention those interviews, but references a move made by KOMO-TV’s Keith Eldridge on Monday. Eldridge apparently showed up at campaign headquarters and her house asking to talk to her. Part of that story included this exchange:

Keith Eldridge: “There was a complaint that she’s dodging the media.”
Keith Schipper (Angel’s campaign spokesman): “I’ve heard that complaint. It’s not true at all.”

To be clear, I did not show up at her doorstep, figuratively or literally, when I tried to get her to talk to me for a story for Sunday. I called her cell phone on Wednesday, hoping to speak to her for 15 minutes on Thursday. When I didn’t hear anything I e-mailed Schipper on Thursday at 10:34 a.m.:

“Keith, I left a message on Rep. Angel’s cell phone and have not heard back yet. I’d like to meet with her today for about 15 minutes for a Q&A story. I could do this over the phone if necessary, but in person would be cleaner audio and I would like to record it.

“The plan is to have a Q&A story on Sunday and include the audio on the Kitsap Caucus blog. I’m meeting with Schlicher at 3 p.m. today in Gig Harbor. What time other than that one would work for Jan? I can be reached at 360-792-3343, or 360-620-9630. If we do this by phone I will give you another number, a Google Voice number that I use to record calls. Thanks.”

He replied four minutes later:

“Steven, Jan isn’t doing any press interviews at this time. With ballots dropping over the next few days, she is 100% focused on using any spare time she has on our grassroots efforts during these last few weeks of the campaign.. I apologize for any inconvenience this may present,”

I read that to mean she would not be doing media interviews for the rest of the campaign. “At this time,” did not suggest that. ” … she is 100% focused on using any spare time she has on our grassroots efforts during these last few weeks of the campaign,” did.

At 10:41 I responded:

“We are going to do the interview with Schlicher and write a story and in that story we will indicate that Jan Angel was not doing press interviews.”

At 1:16 p.m. Schipper responded:

“I understand where you’re coming from, but Jan sat down and was filmed by your editorial board for an hour, you’ve interviewed her in the past, and you’ve attended their forums, so it’s not as if she hasn’t been available and you should be able to get plenty of great answers from those. Also, I am always available so please use me as a resource if you have any other questions on this race as well. This campaign is going to be won in the field, and that is where we’ve set our attention to right now. Again, I apologize for any inconvenience.”

That afternoon I recorded the interview with Schlicher. The next afternoon I e-mailed questions to Schipper and he responded within a few hours, so we had the Q&A story for Sunday to go along with the media story.

Sometime around 2 p.m. Tuesday Jordan Schrader at the Tacoma News Tribune posted an update to an earlier story about the media silence, that Angel had called him and said she never intended to shutdown the media entirely.

At 3:55 p.m. the campaign emailed the press release saying her position on media interviews was “unchanged.”

The press release states that Angel needed time with constituents to clear up issues with ads from Schlicher and the committees campaigning against Angel saying that her backing a bill removing state mandates would have cut off funding for mammograms. I’ve made a request to get clarity from the campaign on that particular issue.

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Thomas Steyer’s interest in the 26th Legislative District race

Monday, October 21st, 2013

In a Facebook post on Oct. 18, state Rep. Jan Angel, running to unseat appointed incumbent state Sen. Nathan Schlicher in as the 26th Legislative District’s senator, wrote:

“Don’t allow this man to buy this election—mark the box by Jan Angel–I have lived and worked right here for over 30 yrs and no California dude can buy this seat unless you allow it!! Time to fight back 26th District!!”

The “dude” in question is Thomas Steyer, a California hedge fund manager who has since become a bigtime contributor to environmental causes. Angel links to this story from the Washington State Wire, which does a pretty good job of explaining who Steyer is and where the $6.3 million he put into committee named “NextGen CLimate Action Committee Sponsored by Thomas Steyer” can and cannot go. More recent Public Disclosure Commission reporting shows that of the $6.3 million Steyer put into the committee, all but about a half million has been spent, the bulk of it on out-of-state causes. What’s more is that NextGen cannot put a donation greater than $5,000 into the legislative races anymore.

Why so much money is reported in Washington is unclear. I tried to contact Steyer and got no response. Lori Anderson, PDC spokeswoman, said it’s possible Steyer is just operating his overall political spending operation here for convenience sake, because he has to report here anyway.

Steyer has put in $525,000 into two Washington committees. She’s Changed PAC, the organization doing all the advertising against Angel, has received $250,000. Washington Conservation Voters has received the rest. That committee then donated $150,000 to She’s Changed PAC, meaning Steyer has spent $400,000 to defeat Jan Angel.

Before getting to Steyer’s presence in Washington, it’s worth pointing out that most of the attention he gets recently has been for his opposition to the Keystone Pipeline. He has done plenty of work elsewhere to suggest his environmentalist leanings are legitimate, but one element of his opposition against Keystone provides easy fodder for his critics. He made the bulk of his money with Farallon Capital, which owns a boatload of stock in Kinder Morgan, which owns the Canada-U.S. West Coast pipeline that would be a major competitor to Keystone. If Keystone is blocked, Steyer’s critics argue, Steyer stands to benefit financially in a huge way. He has since said he will divest his portfolio of “dirty energy” holdings within a year.

A New Yorker story on Steyer and his opposition to Keystone is a great read, and shows that some of Steyer’s allies on other environmental issues are not solid with him on Keystone.

That story also illustrates some of what might be moving Steyer to invest in Washington.

Steyer wanted to test (former Al Gore and Bill Clinton operative Chris) Lehane’s theory that traditional campaign politics—the world of Super PACs and field organizations and TV ads—was the best way to spend his money. “Once politicians start to become aware that this issue can either help them or hurt them, you begin to change the conduct and behavior of those who are in elected office,” Lehane insisted. “Politicians very rarely lead, despite the fact that they talk about leadership in every speech. They typically follow.”

Where that first showed itself was in the Massachussetts Senate race to replace John Kerry, who had been named Secretary of State. Edward Markey opposed Keystone and Steve Lynch supported it. Both were Demcorats and faced each other in the primary.

Steyer’s group spent $1.8 million attacking Lynch and backing Markey. Lehane said they used the same “formula” that had been successful in California: an “enemy” oil company pursuing its own self-interest was hurting the state. Markey won, and went on to victory in the general election. Steyer began looking for his next opportunity.

Schlicher and Angel don’t appear in the New Yorker story, but Steyer’s financial presence just very will might owe itself to the success Steyer saw in Massachusetts and in his philosophical compatibility with Inslee.

In May the online site ClimateSolutions.org reported on speeches Inslee and Steyer gave at the Climate Solutions annual breakfast in Seattle. Both said the West needs to lead the way in battling climate change.

“What are we on the West Coast going to do about the bigger picture of climate change?” Steyer asked during his keynote address. “I think the solution is pretty straightforward: the West Coast needs to lead. And we will do so by exploiting every opportunity in the proposition process, the electoral process and the legislative process. It’s a big task.”

Remarks from Steyer paralleled earlier comments from Governor Jay Inslee. “The West Coast of the United States does not have to wait for the District of Columbia to move forward on strong climate policy,” the Governor stated. “I believe we are a laboratory of innovation and I believe we have the power to set a deadline for reducing our CO2 admissions, and to lead the world as we have done in so many ways.”

That Facebook post wasn’t the first time Angel referred to Steyer as a “dude.” Two days earlier she wrote:

“Rumor has it this billionaire dude putting all this money against me has had meetings with the Governor and perhaps swapping deals/favors –this is all starting to smell real bad!!!!”

I don’t know what deals/favors Angel has heard Inslee and Steyer might be swapping. I contacted Jay Inslee’s spokesman, David Postman, to see if the governor would like to respond to Angel’s comment. Postman wrote back, “Thanks for reaching out, but I’m not going to have a comment.”

Were the 26th Legislative District not the only district with a two-party race this year, it’s unlikely all of Steyer’s money would be in it. As it is, it’s the only real party challenge in the Legislature this year, and it’s between one legislator who has a lifetime score of 11 (out of 100) from Washington Conservation Voters against another who during the first half of the 2013-14 session scored a 100, according to WCV officials. Steyer advocated “exploiting every opportunity in the proposition process, the electoral process and the legislative process,” so in that context it should no longer be a surprise that Steyer is making good on his claim that the West should lead the way on climate change and that he is backing up that claim with his money.


UPDATED: ALEC the focus of incorrect campaign arguments

Monday, October 7th, 2013

Candidates in the 26th Legislative District state Senate race have both made comments publicly about state Rep. Jan Angel’s ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council.

You might not be surprised to know that both Angel, the Republican, and state Sen. Nathan Schlicher, the Democrat, have said things that are factually wrong at worst or unprovable at best.

In the Eggs & Issues debate on Sept. 3 Schlicher said a bill Angel sponsored that would have required drug testing for welfare recipients was a bill originally written by the American Legislative Exchange Council, often referred to in shorthand as ALEC.

ALEC is unquestionably conservative in its orientation, as is Angel. The organization can call itself “non partisan” without smirking, because it does have Democrats who take part. But most of the legislation it favors leans rightward. Angel leans to the right, so it shouldn’t be a shock that she serves as ALEC’s co-chair in this Washington.

The organization does write model bills. So do the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislatures and the Council of State Governments. So do lobbyists, political party staff members and lawyers representing organizations that want to see legislation. Legislators and their staffs write bills, too. I have no way of knowing what percentage of legislation is written by actual elected officials, but if you were thinking it was the vast majority, you are probably way off.

What scares those on the left about ALEC is that it is funded mostly by the likes of executives from Koch Industries and Exxon Mobil and much of its model legislation serves those companies’ interests.

ALEC has been fighting against the Affordable Care Act and counts as members of its Private Enterprise Council executives from GlaxoSmithKline and PhRMA, companies that contributed to Angel’s state Senate campaign. Also backing Angel’s campaign and serving on the council is Altria Client Services, the parent company to Philip Morris and two other tobacco companies.

Sclicher contended initially that the drug testing for welfare recipients bill was an ALEC model. I’ve scoured the web and can’t find proof. There are articles that make the same claim, but they don’t substantiate it. And I’ve found news pieces in which legislators deny the link. The organization has written several bills dealing with welfare and others for drug tests, but I can’t find the organization’s fingerprints on either of Angel’s drug testing for welfare recipients bills. As you will read later, though, this doesn’t mean her bills were not someone’s model bill.

Angel, in her letter to the editor defending her affiliation with ALEC, made what to many would seem to be a solid point about model bills. “If a bill gets through committees, passes the House and the Senate and is signed by the governor, perhaps it is a good bill!” she wrote.

“Good” might not be the right word for many people, but if a bill ends up getting signed by the governor then you can at least say it reflects the values of the people elected to represent its citizens, no matter who wrote it. “Good” depends on your position in relation to those values.

Angel wrote in her defense, “Mr. Bullock accuses me of sponsoring model bills, which is absolutely not true. My bill on drug testing for welfare benefits was written by me and my staff, and I can prove that.”

There’s ample evidence that if Angel and her staff wrote either of the two drug test for welfare recipients laws, they probably at least borrowed language from bills in other states.

In 2012 Angel sponsored a bill, HB 2424, that would require drug tests for all welfare applicants. The applicants would have had to pay for their drug tests. By that year at least 27 other states had proposed similar legislation. I did not search legislation from all 27 states, but it didn’t take much searching to find four — Florida, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Alabama — that used virtually identical language throughout their bills as Angel did in hers.

In 2013 Angel proposed a new bill, HB 1190, one that would require suspicion of drug usage before a test would be required. The language in that bill contained similar language to legislation in Utah that had passed prior to Angel’s legislation introduction.

Another part of Angel’s letter refuting the ALEC allegations stated that to her knowledge only two ALEC bills were proposed in the most recent legislative session, one of them being SB 5802, a bill requested by Gov. Jay Inslee. I contacted the governor’s office to see if that was true. I received the following response from David Postman, Inslee’s spokesman.

“That bill actually had nothing to do with ALEC. I asked the governor’s energy advisory — who did a lot of work on the bill — and he said he had never seen the ALEC bill. When he went to look at it at my request, he said that the ALEC bill is a very different approach to the issue. Among other things, the ALEC bill would study ‘benefits’ of climate change and calls for creation of an interstate research commission. They are both studies and both about climate change. But our bill was drafted with input from a variety of people and the staff’s experience in previous five-corner efforts here. We ended up with what we thought was a good bill. We were glad it got bipartisan support, though many of Rep. Angel’s Republican colleagues opposed it in the House.”

Angel voted for Inslee’s bill.

UPDATE: This post has generated responses that merit inclusion here.

First, Todd Myers with the Washington Policy Center responded to the statement from the governor’s office. The short version is that some of the governor’s bill did probably originate with an ALEC bill. Here is Myers’ response:

The statement from the Governor’s office is both incorrect and misleading, requiring people to believe in an extremely unlikely coincidence.

First, his description of the ALEC bill is incorrect. It does not look at “benefits” of climate change, nor does it set up an interstate commission. The “Environmental Priorities Act” examines the costs and benefits of environmental policy, prioritizing those which provide the greatest benefit for each dollar.

Similarly, at the center of the Governor’s climate bill, his signature legislation this year, is a study of environmental approaches that examines the “effectiveness” of climate policies measuring “the cost per ton of emission reduction.” This mirrors exactly ALEC’s bill, which the Washington Policy Center suggested to the Governor.

In a piece I wrote to the Governor in January, we recommended that his bill mirror ALEC’s Environmental Priorities Act, which we noted “is a way to make sure we aren’t spending huge sums of money on trendy, but ineffective, environmental policies that starve needed funding for projects with significant potential to help the environment.” Like the Governor, we emphasized the need for effectiveness and ensuring we measure based on how much it costs to reduce one ton of carbon. It was confirmed to us that the
Governor’s office read the piece. When the Governor released his bill later that month, this idea was specifically included. The inclusion of that language is why WPC testified in favor of the bill.

It is unlikely the inclusion of the language we suggested is a coincidence. Although the Governor wrote a book on climate policy, nowhere in the more than 200 pages of his book did he mention this particular approach. His bill was the first time this concept appeared. It is possible the Governor’s office did not know the language came from ALEC legislation, but that does not change the fact that the approach is the same.

Perhaps, however, it is merely a happy coincidence that the exact same metric and approach suggested by ALEC was used by the Governor in his bill. This would mean that Gov. Inslee and ALEC independently came up with the same idea. You would think that such a thing would be celebrated as a bi-partisan agreement on climate policy. Instead, the Governor won’t take “yes” for an answer and choose partisanship over agreement.

If climate policy is as serious as the Governor says, we should not let political games get in the way of good policy and good ideas should be praised, no matter what the source.

Todd Myers
Environmental Director | Washington Policy Center

It seems the governor’s office is not referring to the ALEC model legislation that Angel would have been referencing. The model bill the governor’s office referred to is the one listed on the ALEC website as model climate change legislation. That bill does call for a study that calls for an “Interstate Commission on Climate Change,” charged with studying the effects of climate change, stipulating that “These influences may be beneficial or deleterious, and the Commission will specifically address both hypothetical eventualities in an evenhanded manner.”

The ALEC bill Myers is referring to is the Environmental Priorities Act.

Second, Angel said at the Eggs & Issues she has never sponsored an ALEC model bill. I haven’t found evidence otherwise. But Collin Jergens from Fuse Washington, the organization behind some of the ads against Angel, pointed to one bill that she co-sponsored, a bill that was an ALEC model. Co-sponsoring means your name is not the first on a list of sponsors, that the bill probably didn’t get to the Legislature through your office. I say “probably,” because legislators do sometimes hand off legislation from their office to other legislators.

The bill Jergens referenced was HB 2772 in 2010 and has the identical language as ALEC’s Climate Accountability Act. Angel is a co-sponsor.

Jergens provided a list of Washington bills that he described as “ALEC bills that have been introduced.” The one bill Jan Angel was the prime sponsor of was HB 2268. That bill would have required public school students to take a course in financial literacy in order to graduate. There were at least three Democrats who co-sponsored the bill from 2012 and it got a hearing in the House Committee on Education. While the intent of the bill seems to match the ALEC model, the language of the bill is not the same.


UPDATED: Measuring Jan Angel’s primary win over Nathan Schlicher

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Since 2006 Democrats have done better locally at getting out the vote than Republicans. So far this year that seems on the surface to be changing.

I don’t have solid data to back up my sense that Democrats have been better at it at least since 2006, but election data bears it out. Oh-six and oh-eight were Democratic years, so those are easy. In 2010, despite huge Republican gains nationally, Democrats held their own around here. In 2012 Kirby Wilbur, former Washington State Republican Party chairman, admitted his party did poorly in the entire state, blaming that in some part in the national party’s abandonment of the entire state.

Following Tuesday’s results Chris Tibbs, Kitsap GOP chairman, texted me, “The kcrp has mobilized in a way we haven’t since 1994.” Looking just at the race in the 26th Legislative District, it’s hard to argue against it. Republican Jan Angel, a member of the state House now going after the seat Democrat Nathan Schlicher was appointed to in January, won the night. But in Kitsap County her margin was huge, 56.9 percent to 42.8.

There are a lot of reasons to put off betting that Angel will win by the same margin in November, or that she will win at all, but Luanne Van Werven, interim state GOP party chairwoman, was counting it as a done deal. She released the following statement:

“With Rep. Jan Angel winning tonight’s primary by a decisive 9.5%, the message from voters in Kitsap and Pierce Counties is loud and clear: by supporting Governor Inslee’s liberal agenda, Nathan Schlicher has failed to represent his constituents. The Governor’s tax increase proposals, his decision to throw our kids in Washington’s education system under the bus, and his obstructionist D.C.-style of leadership in Olympia were soundly rejected as voters overwhelmingly casted their ballot for Rep. Jan Angel. Nathan Schlicher has sided with Seattle liberals over his own constituents 96% of the time during his brief tenure in Olympia, and it cost him big at the polls.

“Historically speaking, with a primary result such as Schlicher’s tonight, it is safe to say that Rep. Angel will cruise on to an easy victory in November. I look forward to finishing the job and electing her as the 26th member of the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus, and as the next state Senator of the 26th Legislative District.”

It is true that candidates who win primaries generally go on to win the general, so Angel has a certain advantage. Schlicher did better in Pierce County than in Kitsap, but he still lost. If nothing else, it puts Angel in the frontrunner position. This primary is technically meaningless, but there is no better polling available.

If Democrats are looking for help in November, the ballot itself offers little. There are two statewide initiatives, but one is dealing with how initiatives are treated and the other relates to genetically engineered foods. Neither would get out the vote like same-sex marriage rights. So Democrats get little help there.

Democrats can legitimately say, however, that they can pick up momentum. Angel has already spent way more than twice the money Schlicher has, in part because she has almost twice as much money as he does. Additionally, Republicans clearly made a primary win a priority here. I don’t see the same fire yet from Democrats. Jordan Schrader, reporter for the (Tacoma) News Tribune, wrote on July 31 that Democrats had not spent near the money on television, quoting Schlicher saying he didn’t think voters paid much attention to political television ads this time of year.

In the end the primary win should be seen as very good news for Republicans. But you have to wonder if someone who has been sleeping is going to wake up by November, and whether this might have been the alarm clock.

UPDATE: I wanted to test Van Werven’s assertion that Angel would “cruise” to victory in November. I’ll get to that. First, though, more comments from the candidates themselves.

Schlicher told the News Tribune he was happy with the results:

Schlicher’s glass-half-full argument is that he is cutting into the support of Angel, who won by 18 percentage points in November against a different rival in a much lower-spending House race.

“We’ve closed half the distance in a month. We’ve got three months until the general,” Schlicher, an emergency-room doctor, said in an interview. “This is so doable.”

Angel also spoke with the News Tribune, (This was their lead story. Ours was the Bremerton City Council race.) which you can read there. She also issued a written statement today expressing her optimism about the numbers.

“We have worked hard to get our message out about rebuilding our economy, strengthening schools, limiting taxes and meaningful government reforms. We aren’t done yet, there is still a November General election and tomorrow we go back to work.”

Now for some historical perspective. I went back and looked at the legislative races with just two candidates in the primary in 2008, 2010 and 2012. (In 2009 there was a single legislative race, but it had three candidates.)

In those three elections there were 31 two-person races in which the leader at the primary had less than 55 percent of the votes. Of those, two were overturned in the general election.

In 2008 Democrat Liz Loomis took 50.7 percent of the vote in the 44th Legislative Distict primary to Mike Hope’s 49.3 percent. In the general election Hope, a Republican received 50.1 percent to Loomis’ 49.9.

In 2010 Republican Brian Peck won the primary 53-47 in the 17th District, House Position 1 race. In the general election he was beaten 53.2 percent to 46.8 by Democrat Tim Probst.

Probst nearly did it again in 2012. State Sen. Don Benton, a Republican, won the primary with 52.1 percent compared to Probst’s 47.0 percent in the race for Benton’s 17th District state Senate seat. On general election night Benton was behind after the first votes were counted, but ended up winning by 78 votes.

In the same year, 2012, the race for the 47th District Position 1 seat in the House had Mark Hargrove with a 53.9 percent tally over Bud Sizemore’s 46.1. Hargrove, a Republican, ended up winning the general election by 157 votes, taking 50.2 percent of the final vote.

There was one other primary-to-general election overthrow in 2012. Mike Armstrong won the primary with 58.7 percent to Bud Hawkins’ 41.3 percent in the 12th Legislative District House Position 2 race. In the general election Hawkins managed to pull out the win. But Armstrong and Hawkins are both Republicans.


Filing day 4: Real races continue to emerge

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

Jan Angel is in. She will run against Democrat Nathan Schlicher, D-Gig Harbor, for the Senate seat he has held since was appointed in January. The race of the year is set. It’s Republican vs. Democrat, perhaps the only one in the state. And of course that presumes no one else signs up to run and manages to spoil the prediction.

The Bremerton City Council District 7 race will feature two incumbents, thanks to the reduction from nine to seven council members. Eric Younger filed and will be running against fellow councilman Nick Wofford.In Poulsbo David Musgrove signed up to run for the Council District 6 spot. Alyson Rotter signed up to run for the Bremerton School Board Seat 4 position.


Filing day three: Halfway to the race of the year

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Noon update: State Sen. Nathan Schlicher, D-Gig Harbor, filed Wednesday in hopes he will be elected to the seat he was appointed to in January. Unless there are wild card candidates who we’ve not heard of, this puts us halfway to officially beginning what Schlicher’s presumed opponent — state Rep. Jan Angel, R-Port Orchard — said in Sunday’s piece was the race of the year.

On Bainbridge Island Robert Bosserman filed to run for a council seat in District Three, the seat held by Kirsten Hytopoulos.

The West Sound Utility District, not something I would necessarily draw attention to here, has an interesting development. Two current commissioners will be running against each other. That is because when the Annapolis and Karcher Creek water districts merged following a November 2007 vote, they kept the commissioners from the agencies until their terms expired. The commissioner positions last six years. Jeannie Screws is the incumbent in District One. Jim Hart’s position is going away, so he will also run in Screws’ district. Kevin Long, who has worked for the district, will also run for the seat.

Afternoon update: Roger Townsend joined the Bainbridge Island City Council race in District 3 and Steve C. Hancock entered his name in the race for North Kitsap School District for Position 1. Both have opponents.


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