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Appleton to challenge Woods for seat

Although fall elections are six months away, the pairings are already falling into place as Kitsap County’s incumbent legislators have all announced plans to seek re-election and each has drawn one major-party opponent.

The “fight cards” were completed early this week when former Poulsbo city council member Sherry Appleton announced that she would take on Rep. Bevery Woods, (R-Poulsbo) for one of the two seats in the state House of Representatives from the 23d Legislative District, which includes all of Bainbridge Island and North Kitsap County.

“My basic concern was the lack of response from the legislature to the serious issues we’ve got,” said Appleton. “I thought the time was right.”

Appleton was a Poulsbo council member from 1985 to 1993. She ran for mayor of Poulsbo last year, but failed by five votes to survive the primary election.

She has been working as a contract lobbyist for a number of clients, including the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the League of Women Voters of Washington, the American Association of University Women and the Amalgamated Transit Union.

Woods, who announced her candidacy for re-election last month, was originally appointed to the Legislature in 1999 to succeed Karen Schmidt, the Bainbridge Island Republican who resigned to head the state’s Freight Mobility Strategic Investment Board. In 2000, Woods narrowly defeated David Harrison of Bainbridge Island to hold the seat.

While Harrison said after that election that he might make another race. He said this week that his present job as senior policy analyst to United States Sen. Maria Cantwell changed his mind.

“There is an opportunity to have a real impact here, particularly in the economic development area,” Harrison said.

Rep. Phil Rockefeller, (D-Bainbridge Island), formally confirmed his generally expected intention to seek a third term in the state House. He is being challenged by Bremerton businessman Don Large.

Calling transportation the major issue, Rockefeller said he thinks the

campaign will be closely linked to public debates over the $8.5 billion

transportation-improvement package that will also be on the November ballot.

“I will be campaigning for that as a private citizen,” he said. “I hope

voters will ask the candidates where they stand on that measure, and if they

don’t support it what their solutions are,” he said.

Large is skeptical of that measure, saying that money presently dedicated to

transportation must be spent more efficiently. Rockefeller rejects that

argument.

“People who say we can solve all our problems with efficiencies are blowing

smoke,” he said. “We have taken a number of steps intended to insure we get

the best possible value for our dollars, but we can’t save enough that way.

If we really want to improve our transportation system, we have to pay for

it,” he said.

On the federal level, former state representative Joe Marine of Mukilteo

will tackle well-financed incumbent Jay Inslee, (D-Bainbridge Island), in

Washington’s First Congressional District.

“It’s time for a change,” said Marine, a 39-year-old insurance agent. “The

number one issue will be the economy. The rest of the country is picking up,

but we’re still lagging behind in Washington.”

Marine was critical of what he claimed was Inslee’s vote against a bill that

would have expanded presidential authority in the area of international

trade.

“With two out of five jobs in Washington depending on trade, we need to do

everything we can to encourage that,” Marine said.

Marine was a Mukilteo city council member in 2000 when he was appointed to

the state House of Representatives to fill an unexpired term. It was

Marine’s defeat in November of 2001 that gave the Democrats a razor-thin

50-48 majority in the state’s lower chamber.

It will be Inslee’s third race in the First District, which includes

portions of Snohomish and northern and eastern King counties, Bainbridge

Island and North Kitsap County. Inslee narrowly defeated two-term incumbent

Rick White in 1996, then decisively beat state senate majority leader Dan

MacDonald in 2001.

Inslee had previously represented the Fourth District in Central Washington

for one term.

Marine said there were no other Republican contenders vying for the

opportunity to face Inslee, nor does he expect another one to emerge.

“It’s really too late to get started now,” he said.

He acknowledges that he faces a formidable challenge. According to reports

on file with the Federal Elections Commission, Marine had raised $19,000

through March 31, and had under $15,000 on hand on that date. Inslee, by

contrast, had raised over $600,000, and had over $500,000 available on March

31.

“Do I wish that I had more money and he had less? Of course,” said Marine.

“But at the end of the day it’s not about how much money you raise, but how

many votes you get. We’ll just have to find another way to get our message

across.”

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