Candidate Q&A: Kitsap County Commission, District 2

This is part two in a series of Q&As with candidates for local office in the Nov. 6 general election. This week: Charlotte Garrido and Linda Simpson, County Commission, District 2.

Kitsap County commissioners approve laws and manage a $325 million budget. Commissioners are responsible for county policies relating to community development, county finance, environmental protection, human services, parks and recreation, public safety and health, solid waste, transportation, and other state legislative directed duties. Commissioners are elected to four-year terms and receive $109,907 per year. They also receive the same benefits as county employees.

Charlotte Garrido
Residence: Olalla
Occupation: Kitsap County commissioner
Education: BA in Sociology; master’s and PhD in Urban Design and Planning.
Online: www.charlottegarrido.com

Herald: What qualifications do you have for this job?
Garrido: I have productively served Kitsap County for more than 30 years — as an active citizen, a contributing professional, and an elected leader. My experience as a Kitsap County commissioner demonstrates that I know the job and have the skills to address vital governing tasks.

Herald: What are your top five priorities if elected?
Garrido: I want to expand on issues that began under my watch. One, enhance effective county services. Two, champion economic recovery and development.

Three, invite citizen engagement with local government. Four, steward natural resources. Five, support the efforts of local human service agencies.

Herald: How would you accomplish these priorities?
Garrido: Enhance services — Several process improvements can serve as models beyond the initial department. These include exploring innovative budget efficiencies, electronic “paperless” systems, and strategic planning. For example, many offices drastically streamlined their work with on-line processes.

Economic recovery — Our national, state and local economies are still uncertain. Yet we must continue to foster the development and success of locally-owned businesses, and promote more jobs for industry sectors in Kitsap County. I am a tireless advocate for workforce training and employment opportunities. I will continue to work toward a strong local economy with partners on the boards of the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance (KEDA), Kitsap Aerospace and Defense Alliance (KADA), and the Prosperity Partnership’s Economic Development District.

Citizen engagement — Many citizens like to participate in government issues of interest to They attend public meetings, advocate for their own neighborhoods, or volunteer in an advisory role. While the economic crisis prevented the emphasis I would have liked in my current term, I look forward to doing much more to promote citizen engagement in another term.  At a minimum, this includes working with the Citizens to Improve Long Lake or a South Kitsap Trails Committee, and establishing a group for the South Kitsap Community Park as well as one for South Kitsap Communities.

Steward natural resources — We live in one of the most beautiful areas of the world. We must maintain our quality of life so future generations enjoy similar benefits. The commissioners recognize water as a resource, encouraging responsible use and re-use. We also implemented energy efficiencies for county facilities and vehicles, and milestones for waste reduction. I will continue to serve on the Alliance for a Healthy South Sound and the Regional Open Space Strategies Executive Board, too.

Support the efforts of local human service agencies — Kitsap County’s Department of Personnel & Human Services organizes advisory groups around human service need, and seek state and national funds to support local services. I serve on the Housing Solutions Center’s Housing Advisory Team. Opened in February 2012, this agency is a one-stop resource for services ranging from housing, employment, healthcare, transportation, and more.

Herald: What makes you different from your opponent?
Garrido: As a commissioner I have built good working relationships with many individuals, organizations, and jurisdictions — within Kitsap County and the region. My track record as a Kitsap County commissioner reflects successes on diverse issues.  Herald: What is the most important job of an elected official?Garrido: To uphold their oath of office.

Linda Simpson
Residence: Bremerton
Education: BA (Biology), UC Santa Cruz; MS (Elementary Education), Old Dominion University; Washington State Teaching Certificate; U.S. Navy (schools)
Online: www.onyourballot.vote411.org/candidate-detail.do?id=10441578

Herald: What qualifications do you have for this job?
Simpson: Twelve years of service in the U.S. Navy (Reserve), 18 years business experience including eight years in management, two years as teacher-on-staff for Bremerton Boys & Girls Club, mother of two teenage autistic children.

Herald: What are your top five priorities?
Simpson: My first priority in office will be to implement independent performance audits to identify the county’s strengths and its inefficiencies so we can give the taxpayer the best possible service at the greatest value.

The results of these audits, coupled with input from business owners, entrepreneurs and other community stakeholders, will allow us to efficiently and intelligently streamline county code, and eliminate outdated or unfounded regulations, which will improve the business climate in Kitsap County, thereby allowing businesses to create the jobs we so desperately need. With a streamlined government operating at maximum efficiency we will be in a position to improve our infrastructure, which will enhance our business climate.

We must also, immediately, identify and rank our priorities of government to provide a sensible funding road map in tough times, rather than across the board cuts. By making our government efficient and responsive, and providing you with great customer service, we can continually improve Kitsap County.

Herald: How would you accomplish your priorities?
Simpson: I am committed to serving my community and my country, and have lived my life by this value. I am running for office because I believe I can make our government better. I will work across lines of party, ideology and convenience to create lasting solutions to our problems. I will develop and maintain relationships with our state legislators and executives to enable productive, two-way communication on the issues we face, and I will travel to Olympia to lobby on our behalf to eliminate burdensome state mandates.

Herald: What makes you different from your opponent?
Simpson: According to the state Office of Financial Management, Kitsap County lost 18,000 jobs between 2009 and 2010, and the Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimates that 10,000 people in Kitsap remain unemployed and in search of work. This is unacceptable; I will champion economic development in Kitsap County. We need jobs to pay our mortgages/rent, our gas, our food, our children’s welfare, and to pay the taxes that fund our government.

I will not take, or eschew, any position merely for the sake of political expediency in an election year. I stand for efficiency, I stand for jobs, I stand for excellent customer service, and, under my leadership, rather than putting roadblocks in the way of our innovators and doers, I will find a way to accommodate opportunity. Under my leadership, Kitsap County will “Find a way to say ‘Yes’!”

Herald: What’s the most important job of an elected official?
Simpson: To fairly discharge the duties of government at maximum efficiency and provide the best possible service to the constituents at the best possible value to the taxpayer. In accordance with Article 1, Section 1 of the Washington State Constitution, which reads: “All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain individual rights.”

Meet the candidates Oct. 2, 5
SILVERDALE — Kitsap Alliance presents a candidates forum on Oct. 2 in the Silverdale Community Center.

The forum for candidates for County Commission districts 1 and 2 will begin at 6:30 p.m. The forum for candidates for 6th District Congress will begin at 7:30 p.m.

The candidates for County Commission are Rob Gelder and Chris Tibbs, District 1; and Charlotte Garrido and Linda Simpson, District 2.

The candidates for 6th District Congress are Bill Driscoll and Derek Kilmer.

The candidates will participate in a forum Oct. 5, 6:30 p.m., at the Greater Hansville Community Center.


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