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Large to challenge Rockefeller in 23rd House race

Sounding the Republican themes of overspending and over-regulation, Bremerton auto body-shop owner Don Large announced Friday that he will seek the 23d District legislative seat held by Rep. Phil Rockefeller, (D-Bainbridge Island).

“I’ve never seen government run anything really efficiently,” Large said in an interview Friday.

“When I look at the state the state is in, I don’t think there is a lot of leadership.”

Large said he made the decision to run earlier this week, and made his formal announcement ahead of today’s county GOP convention so he can be introduced to party faithful as a legislative candidate. He said he does not yet know of any other possible Republican hopeful.

Large said party officials encouraged him to enter the race, and that he has received party approval. If there are other Republican entrants, the nominee will be selected in a September primary.

Rockefeller, who could not be reached Friday, has not officially announced his intentions, but is believed to be seeking re-election.

“He’s said nothing here that would suggest otherwise,” Rockefeller’s wife Anita said Friday.

Rep. Beverly Woods, (R-Poulsbo), has officially declared that she is seeking re-election to the other 23d District spot. She has no announced opponent yet from either party.

The 55-year-old Large said he has been involved “on the back burner of politics,” working on the campaigns of such candidates as Woods, former Rep. Karen Schmidt of Bainbridge Island and former Rep. Paul Zelinsky.

Large moved to Kitsap County in 1977 from Northern California. He has worked in the automotive field since, and has been involved in scouting and youth sports activities.

He and his wife Cynthia have seven children, ranging in age from 14 to 37.

Large says that taxes are too high, and believes the answer is greater efficiency.

“There are just too many instances in our government of 200 people directing one person to swing a $600 hammer to pound a quarter-cent nail,” he said in a release announcing his candidacy.

Large said he could not cite any specific instances of inefficiency, but said his business experience suggests that savings are possible.

“There is not a place in the state where with proper leadership and management, money can’t be saved somewhere.”

He said one of his top priorities is education. The state puts plenty of money into it, but the money “is spent at the top, and doesn’t get to the classroom,” he said.

He also said businesses are over-regulated, which is making the state less attractive to employers.

“Someone trying to grow in this area has too many hoops to jump through,” he said. “I’m all for the environment, but we can be over-environmentally friendly, trying to save the tse-tse fly. We need to decide what is worth saving.”

Large noted that much of the environmental regulation to which business is subjected originates at the federal level, but he says that in those cases, the state should consider standing aside.

“From what I real and am told, and what I see in my business, there is a lot of duplication,” he said.

Large said he believes private enterprise should be given a greater role in road-building and other transportation endeavors.

He is unimpressed with the multi-billion dollar transportation package that will be presented to voters in November.

“The package is inefficient, and I don’t think people will buy it,” he said. “This is a good example of government not listening.”

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