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Betti Sheldon to retire from state Senate

After a dozen years of fighting for the 23rd District on the floor of the Senate, Betti Sheldon will not run for a fourth term.

“For the last several months I’ve thought about it and I have decided to retire from the Senate,” the Bremerton Democrat said Monday. “I had a feeling in 1992 to run for the Senate and I had those same feelings that it was my time to move on now.”

Sheldon’s campaign slogan was “Putting Kitsap First” when she ousted incumbent Ellen Craswell in 1992, and party supporters praised her for doing just that.

“Betti has been a strong voice and strong supporter of Kitsap County and she’ll be missed,” Kitsap County Commissioner Chris Endresen said. “Selfishly, I wish we could get four more years out of her.

“I appreciate that Betti didn’t make decisions based on getting elected – she made those decisions for everybody in Washington and Kitsap County.”

Sheldon kept the 2-Plus-2 program at Olympic College and helped secure funds for the rebuilding of the OC library and the recently opened Poulsbo campus, which Endresen said is Sheldon’s biggest legacy to the residents of the north end of the county.

She twice secured funds for passenger-only ferry service, only to see the boats docked by voter-approved initiatives that cut funding.

In the Senate, Sheldon has served in a number of leadership roles including Democratic floor leader, majority floor leader, majority caucus vice chair, majority whip and majority assistant floor leader.

She is a member of the economic development, higher education and ways and means committees.

Sheldon said her biggest accomplishment was helping write the Regulatory Reform Bill of 1995, which cut down government red tape.

Sheldon said she’s not sure what she’ll do once her term ends in December.

“Hopefully I’ll do something else for Kitsap County,” she said.

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