Filling Endresen’s Shoes

Most Kitsap elected officials say they’re not interested in become a county commissioner.

The chairman of the Kitsap County Democratic Central Committee said Thursday that he will announce the process and time line for seeking candidates to replace North Kitsap County Commissioner Chris Endresen next week.
Carl Olson said he’s heard from a number of people interested, but won’t name them until the committee has finalized details of the process it will use to select candidates for Endresen’s replacement. The Democratic Central Committee is charged by the state constitution with nominating three potential candidates for Endresen’s seat.

The remaining two commissioners will select from the list to determine the next county commissioner. If they cannot agree, the governor will make the selection.
Some likely prospects for the job have stepped forward to say they are not interested. They include state Rep. Sherry Appleton, D-Poulsbo, state Rep. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island, Poulsbo Mayor Kathryn Quade and Bainbridge Island Mayor Darlene Kordonowy.
Appleton was particularly clear about her status.
“Everybody’s asked me. I’ve said the same thing: Not only ‘Hell, no.’ but ‘Hell, hell, no!’” Appleton said.
“I have no desire under any circumstances. I like what I do.”
State Sen. Phil Rockefeller, D-Bainbridge Island, and Mary McClure, executive director of the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council, are leaving the door open on a run for Endresen’s seat.
“I’m aware of the speculation,” Rockefeller said. “I guess it’s something I would consider, but I’m also very pleased to be doing the job I am as a state senator.”
McClure said she is weighing the personal and professional issues that would be involved in a major career change. She expects to make a decision early next week.
“I love the work I’m doing. I feel like it’s really valuable,” McClure said. “I’m working hard to evaluate if this is something I want to do.”
McClure, who ran for county commissioner in the early 1990s, said her experience on the council since 1992 — and as its director since 1999 — has contributed significantly to her understanding of county government.
“I have to say, I have a far better understanding of what the job is than I did when I ran,” she said.
McClure said it’s not surprising more people haven’t stepped forward with a firm commitment.
“It’s really sudden. For anyone who’s currently engaged, it’s a huge rearrangement,” she said. “I think everyone’s probably asking themselves these questions: ‘Am I better positioned to have an impact where I am or as a commissioner?’”
Appleton said she prefers working to effect change at the state level, and added that she had no stomach for stepping through the mine field of land-use debate that dominates county government.
Rolfes, who was elected to the Legislature in 2006 by defeating Republican Beverly Woods, said she has no plans to make a switch any time soon.
Quade and Kordonowy also said they would be reluctant to abandon their current positions.
“That’s a really tough job,” Kordonowy said. “Not that I’m afraid of tough jobs, but I’ve got a job to do here, and a pretty tough one at that.”
Said Quade: “I have thought about it briefly, and I feel I have a commitment to the city of Poulsbo to fill out my four years. There’s a lot of things I have cooking right now that I don’t want to walk away from.”

Vacancy: What’s Next?
Carl Olson, chairman of the Kitsap County Democratic Central Committee, said he will announce the deadline for applications for the North Kitsap commissioner’s seat next week.
The Democratic Central Committee will take applications and conduct interviews. In the end, the full central committee will vote to determine the slate of potential commissioner candidates.
Talk about the Candidates
The Washington 35th Legislative District Democrats will meet at 1 p.m. May 12 at the William G. Reed Public Library in Shelton to discuss the recent legislative session and potential candidates to replace Endresen. The public is welcome.
As the process to replace her gets rolling, many local lawmakers say they don’t want the job.

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