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Will county commission be an all-boys club?
The announcement by South Kitsap Commissioner Jan Angel that she will leave the board to run for a seat in the state Legislature ensures in a years time the county commissioners will look quite different than it did just one year ago.
By this time next year, none of the county commissioners whose names appear on the commemorative plaque on the front of the new administration building will still be in office.
As of this week, Democrat Monty Mahan is the only declared candidate for the seat. If Mahan wins election, the county commissioners will all be Democrats and, perhaps even more significantly, all male.
The boys club aspect of the race is likely to change, however, with two former female Kitsap County officeholders showing a tacit interest. Charlotte Garrido, who served as SK commissioner from 1997 to 2001, said she is involved in a research project determining the feasibility of a local four-year degree program.
Garrido, who also ran unsuccessfully for the seat in 2004, said she expects to decide whether or not to run in the next few weeks.
Former Port Orchard Mayor Kim Abel is still deciding whether to make a run for the seat, she said.
The race claimed its first casualty this week, although from a candidate who had not yet declared. Diane Robinson, co-owner of Elandan Gardens in Port Orchard, took tentative steps toward a candidacy but then decided not to go forward.
As for her reasons, Robinson mentioned her family and said Elandan is planning to open another store in Gig Harbor.
As a result, a commissioners contest would be too demanding of her time.
Ive wanted to be a county commissioner since I was 26 years old, said Robinson, 60. I think that I could do a lot of positive things for the community. But I need to put my family and my business first. They need me to help open the new location.
While Angel is a Republican, there are no candidates from her party who have yet demonstrated an interest in the seat. The two elected Republicans in Kitsap County government, Assessor Jim Avery and Coroner Greg Sandstrom, said they are not interested in running.
Kitsap County Republican Chairman Jack Hamilton said his party is actively recruiting for the position and expects to field a strong candidate for the election.
We will have a candidate, he said. But any announcements about declaring for the seat will come from the candidate and not from me.