County Officials Step Forward for Endresen’s Seat

Two county officials have announced their intention to run for the county commissioner’s seat that will be vacated by Chris Endresen at the end of June.
Treasurer Barbara Stephenson and county public information officer Clarence Moriwaki are the latest candidates to throw their hats into the ring.
Endresen is leaving the county to head up the Washington State office of Sen. Maria Cantwell.
Stephenson, a North Kitsap resident elected as treasurer in 2002, said her understanding of the county budget would be an asset as the county prepares for at least four years of budget reductions.
Stephenson expressed a sense of urgency about making adjustments to the budget.
“I believe some things need to be addressed in this budget cycle,” she said. “It will be a challenging time, but also a rewarding time to be in county government, and I look forward to the opportunity to serve.”
Stepheson was reelected as treasurer in 2006. She is former director of the United Way of Kitsap County. Earlier in her career, she worked in the banking industry. She has lived in Kitsap County since 1977.
Moriwaki, a Bainbridge resident who assumed his post with the county little more than a month ago, said he had been thinking about declaring his candidacy for a couple of weeks, but he wanted to run it by the commissioners first.
“They were very supportive,” he said of Endresen, Josh Brown and Jan Angel.
Moriwaki has been involved with the Democratic party since the 1980s, when he worked on the state Democratic Central Committee. He also worked for the state Senate Democratic Caucus.
He has been a member of the Tukwila City Council and took a stab at a state Senate seat representing the 11th District, but was not elected.
He worked on Mike Lowry’s campaign for governor and later became his deputy communications director. He has been a spokesperson for the Clinton Administration’s Northwest Forest Plan and for the Portland Rose Festival.
Moriwaki worked for Sound Transit in Seattle from 1998-2001 before becoming disillusioned and leaving that post. Most recently he ran the Kitsap County office of Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Bainbridge Island.
Inslee, Port Orchard Mayor Kim Abel and a number of Democratic precinct committee officers have encouraged him to run, Moriwaki said.
Moriwaki said he would focus on making the county more cost-efficient.
“The county has to be smarter and leaner,” Moriwaki said. “I challenge the county to be more nimble.”

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