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Appleton a new face in House race

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 23rd 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 U.S. 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 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,” Rockefeller said. “We have taken a number of steps intended to ensure 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.”

MARINE LANDS

On the federal level, former state representative Joe Marine of Mukilteo will tackle well-financed incumbent Jay Inslee (D-Bainbridge Island), in Washington’s 1st 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 is critical of a recent Inslee vote against one bill in Congress, which the challenger says 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.

But it was his defeat last November 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 1st 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 4th 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, the Marine campaign had raised $19,000 through March 31, and had less than $15,000 on hand on that date.

By contrast, Inslee had raised over $600,000, and had a war chest of more than $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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