Big Turnout in Little Manchester for Port Primary

Mark Rebelowski, who looks likely to be moving on to the general election in the Port of Manchester race, has chastised me for not writing a story about the port race.

Here’s what he said.
“Chris….800 + votes in the tiny burb of Manchester yet we get no mention? I know the race is to close to call but how about at least a mention of it? Percentage wise we have far less voters then the City Of P O yet we had a better turn out…dont you think?”

Well, Mark, I agree with you. That’s a significant turn-out, and it shows the interest of citizens in the port during this time of change and development in Manchester. The editors have informed me that our policy is not to write about port races, water district races etc., unless there is a large looming elephant in the living room, as with the Port of Bremerton and the marina tax levy. Results on the Manchester port race were listed in a grid.

But because Manchester matters, here’s what I would have written.

With four candidates running for Port of Manchester position 3 in the primary election, Steve Pedersen is clearly moving on to the general election in November, with 30 percent of the 860 votes counted so far.
Mark Rebelowski, with 24.88 percent is currently edging out Phil Paquette, who has 23.02 percent. Dave Kimble trails with 21.05 percent in unofficial results from the auditor’s office.
Strong interest in the port race is evidence that development in the quiet waterfront town has sparked discussion of the port’s role in Manchester’s future. The two winning candidates both lean toward the port becoming a more active player in the town’s economic revitalization.
Rebelowski has said he’s for “responsible change” in Manchester. If elected, he would work with developers to promote growth while protecting port assets.
He wants to see improvements to the port, such as upgrading the bulkhead and adding parking spaces. He says the port needs to look at grant funding for new projects. He is dedicated to the concept of open government and would encourage public participation at port meetings.
Rebelowski is a 20-year union carpenter who has worked on waterfront projects such as bridges and docks, experience that he says would serve him well as a port commissioner. Although still a union member, Rebelowski has had to retrain due to health issues. He is now licensed to sell insurance and is a loan originator.
Pedersen’s top priority would be to review and update the 1996 Manchester Port District Parks and Recreation Plan. He would also promote a financial plan for the port.
Pedersen sees the Port of Manchester’s potential as a “powerful economic generator.” He said he would network with other groups, citizens and government agencies to help the Port of Manchester meet challenges and prosper.
Pedersen was born and raised in Manchester, where he lives with his wife, Pat. He is serving his second term as a commissioner for the Manchester Water District. He was chairman of Kitsap Mental Health Services in the early 1980s.
Paquette, a long-time Manchester resident who could conceivably upset Rebelowski, has said he believes port commissioners should not be overreaching in their roles.
“On port property, you’ve got two parking lots, a couple of piers, a boat ramp, a beach and a park, and that is your responsibility,” he said. “And that should be the focus of anyone occupying the position. As far as artificially expanding your mandate beyond the responsibility of the port, that speaks to the problem we have with government today.”

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