Poulsbo City Council member joins field of candidates for state Senate appointment

Poulsbo City Councilman Ed Stern ... files application for appointment to state Sen. Phil Rockefeller
Poulsbo City Councilman Ed Stern ... files application for appointment to state Sen. Phil Rockefeller's post.
— image credit: Poulsbo City Council website

POULSBO — Ed Stern, a four-term member of the Poulsbo City Council, has joined the field of applicants for state Sen. Phil Rockefeller's position, which becomes vacant Thursday.

Other applicants are state Rep. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge; and James (Jim) Sommerhauser, a Kitsap County planning commissioner and Kitsap County Democrats board member.

Rockefeller resigned effective June 30 from the state Senate after being appointed earlier this month by Gov. Chris Gregoire to the Northwest Power and Conservation Council. A few hours later, Rolfes, a fellow islander who also represents the 23rd District, said she would like to be the senator's replacement.

Mike Arnold, chairman of the county Democratic Central Committee, told the Bainbridge Island Review that the committee had received applications from Rolfes, Sommerhauser and Stern. He hoped that at least six people would apply before the deadline today, "but each is qualified and would do a good job."

Next, the party's precinct committee officers will interview the applicants at a July 12 caucus, will rate them and will send their selections to the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners. The board will then appoint the new senator.

Arnold said some Democrats have assumed Rolfes will get the appointment, "but you never know what will happen when people get in front of the commissioners for an interview."

Stern is an investment manager for E.K. Riley Investments. He was first elected to the City Council in 1997, and was reelected in 2001, 2005 and 2009. His current term end in 2013. He is member of the Association of Washington Cities board of directors. He has been an active advocate for economic development and expansion of telework and transit connectivity for commuters.

Arnold said three people have indicated they would like to replace Rolfes if she is appointed to replace Rockefeller; the process would be the same to replace Rolfes.

"The three who have said they are interested are Drew Hansen, Hilary Franz and Holly Mortlock," he said. "And hopefully there will be many more if that's what happens."

Franz is a Bainbridge Island City Council member and an attorney. Hansen is a Bainbridge Island  resident and a partner in the Seattle law firm of Susman Goldfrey LLP. Mortlock is a Bremerton resident and a Democratic precinct committee officer.

— With reporting by Dennis Anstine of the Bainbridge Island Review.

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