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Fire district candidates battle for board seats

The candidates for the North Kitsap Fire & Rescue’s fire commissioners’ board are both seasoned commissioners—each with a dozen years of tenure. The Poulsbo fire commissioners race is just the opposite, featuring a contest between relative newcomers.

Due to the merger of the former Hansville Fire District 14 with NKF&R, current board members Leon Thomas and Idar Slothaug, each long-term members of their fire own fire boards, now must run against each other.

Both candidates have deep roots in their communities and bring unique qualifications to the board.

In the Poulsbo District 18 race, newcomer Ginger Jones-Magures opposes Randy Odden, who was appointed to the board last year.

All candidates were asked the same five questions. Their unedited answers are given here.

Questions for fire commissioner race

1. If elected what do you hope to achieve during your term?

2. How would you strengthen the fire district’s relationship with the community?

3. What is your philosophy on fire district leadership?

4. What is your philosophy when it comes to spending taxpayers’ money?

5. What do you bring to the table that sets yourself apart from your opponent?

NKF&R Pos. 2

Idar Slothaug, Kingston

The Legislature authorizes a board of fire commissioners to be established and represent the people, and levy taxes according to law (RCWs). As your commissioner, I take this responsibly very seriously. We strike a balance between available tax dollars and the desires and needs of the community.

During my tenure as fire commissioner, a community services specialist position was created to provide fire safety education programs in the schools and community and help the public understand the military command structure under which most fire departments operate.

I am committed to maintaining quality service to all of North Kitsap Fire & Rescue’s neighborhoods.

I have invested 23 years of service into this fire department and have the experience and the desire to continue.

Leon Thomas, Hansville

1) As your commissioner, I will put my knowledge and energy to achieve my goal to improve fire and emergency medical service using proven policy and leadership methods as our community grows.

2) Increased communication is the way to strengthen the relationship through the use of newsletters and pertinent news releases. I also feel it is important to be visible to the community by attending community meetings.

3) Commissioners provide fire district leadership. We develop policies that meet the needs of the community, ensure professional staffing and develop budgets to provide fire and aid services.

4) I believe in prudent use of the taxpayers’ money. Competitive bidding would be part of major purchases, with a continual review of suppliers for quality.

5) I have a worthy opponent. My uniqueness come from having served as a regional board member and now president of the Fire Commissioners Association. Thus I am familiar with fire districts and their operations across the state, enabling me to bring tried and proven ideas back to our local district.

District 18 pos. 2

Ginger Jones-Magures

1) To see that the community is provided with services, that the firefighters are provided with appropriate equipment and working environment, while monitoring the budget to ensure there is no waste.

2) We are all community. I would like to step up contact with volunteer support. I would like to assist the community to be ready for emergencies, to be ready with

community drills to provide the safest environment for everyone.

3) Fire district leadership is an intrinsic part of a successful community. We need to work together to be strong, to maintain our community with other resources, for the safety of all who live within the range of our care.

4) We shouldn’t spend any more than absolutely necessary. Taxpayers work too hard for their money. I don’t want their tax dollars taken away from them unnecessarily. On the other hand, their personal safety is primary and should not be compromised. They should feel that they are safe in their homes and will have service in a timely fashion.

5) I am a bulldog. If there is a problem, I follow it to the end. If there is a problem or organizational issue, something that needs to be addressed, I follow it to the end. Perseverance pays. I also have accounting experience and experience in financial management.

Randy Odden,

Poulsbo

1) Build a satellite fire station. Participate in an assessment program of Fire District 18 that would form the “blueprint” for future fire district operations. Continue to provide the best equipment and material for our emergency response personnel.

2) There are many programs that I would like to see continue. Fire District 18 currently offers CPR/FIrst Aid classes to the public. They have several educational programs designed for children such as “Don’t Hide From Help”, car seat and bike helmet safety awareness. There are also the fun programs such as “Touch a Truck” and providing transportation for Santa as he visits the neighborhoods during the Christmas season.

The events of this year have highlighted the greater need for disaster preparedness, whether by natural or man-made causes. I support the development of community awareness programs on these issues.

3) I have been privileged to serve on the fire district board under the chairmanship of Jack Webb. Through his leadership, the board has been guided by a common purpose to provide the best emergency response service possible. It is my desire that this professional and cooperative atmosphere continue as the board faces upcoming issues.

4) I’ve been a taxpayer in Kitsap County for many years, so I know the ever-increasing bite that taxes have taken out of our pocketbooks. For that reason, I have considered the economic impact of every decision I have made as a fire commissioner. In support of the I-695 results, I voted to limit the increase in the fire district’s budget last year to 2 percent, well below the amount allowable under law.

While carefully monitoring taxpayer funds, I also realize that we cannot shortchange the safety of our citizens. We must have available to our emergency personnel the latest technology and best equipment possible, within our current budget constraints.

5) There are several areas where I feel I am a particularly strong candidate. First, my roots are here in Poulsbo. Growing up here, I have a knowledge of the area and its people that cannot be gained in just a few years. As a Kitsap County resident for many years, I have a good grasp of citizens’ fire protection issues, as well as their monetary concerns. Second, as Director of NK School District’s Maintenance & Facilities Department, I am familiar with managing large, complex operations and being responsible for million dollar budgets. Third, my background in engineering and construction will be especially important during the building of the new satellite fire station.

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