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Appleton to seek Rockefeller’s seat

The Bainbridge incumbent is likely to run for the state Senate.

Another North Kitsap resident has thrown her hat into the ring to run for Phil Rockefeller’s seat in the state Legislature.

Democrat and former Poulsbo City Councilwoman Sherry Appleton announced Tuesday that she will seek the 23rd Legislative District, Position 1 seat.

Appleton said she declared her candidacy after talking to Rockefeller at Sen. Betti Sheldon’s retirement announcement a week ago.

Rockefeller is expected to announce after the Legislative session that he will seek the Senate seat being vacated by Sheldon at the end of the year. Appleton said she could re-file for another position if circumstances change.

Kitsap Republicans have a candidate of their own seeking Rockefeller’s seat, Kingston resident Paulette DeGard.

An eight-year stint on the Poulsbo City Council is Appleton’s elected experience to date. During her tenure with Poulsbo, she was on the board of trustees of the Association of Washington Cities. The Democrat was also one of the founders of the council coalition, which brought elected officials from all four cities in Kitsap County together quarterly.

“I felt communication between all four of the councils was very important,” she said.

Appleton ran unsuccessfully against state Sen. Ellen Craswell in 1988 and 1992. In 2002, she failed in a bid to unseat incumbent Rep. Beverly Woods for the Position 2 seat by about 4 percent.

Though she has never held office in Olympia, Appleton has worked there for the last 10 years.

She is public affairs representative for the League of Women Voters of Washington State, the Washington Defender Association and the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Appleton said the experience has prepared her for a legislative seat in the sense that she could hit the ground running for her constituents.

“First of all is the benefit of knowing the process and coming in being prepared to do things and not having to learn the process,” Appleton said.

“I already know who the players are and what needs to be done.”

One of the biggest issues Appleton said she hopes to tackle in the Legislature is transportation, specifically passenger-only ferries. While a partnership between public and private entities may soon revive foot ferries for Kitsap County, Appleton said she is still interested in proposing the state help with some of the costs.

“I consider them the sidewalks of the sound,” she said.

Appleton added that getting Washington to foot some of the cost of passenger-only ferries is going to be an increasingly important issue for the peninsula soon. With the Tacoma Narrows Bridge converting to a toll span, Appleton said getting to Kitsap County will become a pay-only affair.

“The only way not to pay is to go more than 100 miles out of your way and for families that don’t have a lot of money to begin with, I think that’s going to be a problem,” she said.

Other issues Appleton has an interest in include building infrastructure to create more jobs, education, environment and affordable health care.

“We’re looking forward to a very spirited campaign,” Appleton said. “I think there’s change in the air. People are so energized after being at the caucuses and they’re eager for change and we’re excited to be part of that change.”

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