DeGard, Mahaffay vie in primary -- Candidate profiles

The winner faces Sherry Appleton for a state House seat.

Two Republicans are vying for a state House seat left wide open as Rep. Phil Rockefeller makes a bid for the state Senate.

Frank Mahaffay, a Bremerton realtor and Navy veteran, will square off against Kingston business design specialist Paulette DeGard for Rockefeller’s 23rd District, Position 1 seat in the state House.

The Republican winner in the primary will face Democrat Sherry Appleton and Libertarian Dan Goebel in the November general election.

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Paulette DeGard

Party: Republican

Office sought: State representative, 23rd District, Pos. 1

Age: 46

Profession: Executive director of Industry Cluster Institute, an economic development company based in Silverdale

Hometown: Kingston

Birthplace: West Bend, Wis.

Education: Doctorate in entrepreneurial leadership in international business, Union Institute (Cincinnati); master’s degree in whole systems design, Antioch University (Seattle); bachelor’s degree in communications, University of Central Florida (Orlando).

Civic Involvement: Kitsap Kids playground general coordinator, Silverdale Rotary member, Washington Community Alliance for Self-Help member, former board member of the Admiral Theater

Endorsements: Washington Restaurant Association, Mainstream Republicans, Trucking Action Committee, state Rep. Beverly Woods, state Rep. Jim Buck, Kitsap County Commissioner Patty Lent, Kitsap County Assessor Jim Avery.

Web site:

Why she’s running for office: “I work with businesses all the time who run into obstacles and over-regulation. That’s got to change. I want to make Washington business-friendly. Regulatory reform is my top priority. We need to work on how to make sure the state government functions well and that its customer service functions well. We really need to work to bring our state agencies in line and function at a level so people who need their services can be successful.”

On the issues

Affordable Housing: “This is becoming more and more of an issue for the young people in the area with the lack of available lots driving up prices. We’re heading for a crisis in affordable housing.”

Growth Management: “We need growth management but also need to look at whether the model we are using is good for the state,” she said. DeGard believes the state’s Growth Management Act focuses on high-density and low-density areas, with little regard for medium density areas common in Kitsap County. “I don’t want the state driving this in areas where it doesn’t make sense. We need to let local areas make decisions appropriate for themselves.”

Environmental protection: “In Kitsap County, the environment is one of our greatest assets; it’s why people move here. We need to continue to work for balance, taking care of the environment and taking care of the economy.”

Transportation: “I’m very excited about the new Kingston ferry. It’s a great model for public and private partnerships and has been a great success. We’re going to see a bit of relief with these new ferry routes. But there’s a lot of work to be done on the infrastructure. The legislature is going to have to address this across the state. Roads are in bad shape. We need to figure out how to evaluate what is a priority out of the many projects that need work. It’ll always be a battle. Everybody wants their constituents to benefit.”

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Frank Mahaffay

Party: Republican

Office sought: State representative, 23rd District, Pos. 1

Age: 32

Profession: Realtor

Hometown: East Bremerton

Birthplace: Chicago, Ill.

Education: Four years of college at Southern Illinois University studying workforce education training and development.

Civic Involvement: President of the Kitsap County Association of Realtors, Washington Association of Realtors steering committee member, Olympic Workforce Develop­ment Council member, Alternative Solutions to Impact Fees task force member, past chairman of the Central Kitsap School Career and Technical Education Advisory Council.

Endorsements: Kitsap County Deputy Sheriffs Guild, Cross Sound Transportation, Washington Association of Realtors, Washington Affordable Housing Council, Washington State Dental Political Action Committee, King County Councilman and Attorney General candidate Rob McKenna, state Sen. Bob Oke.

Web site:

Why he’s running: “I’ve been a realtor talking to the public quite a bit. What I’ve seen is a climate of antibusiness and tax-and-spend policies with a severe mistrust of government. I want to change that and bring more transparency so the public can see how the government spends its money.”

On the issues

Affordable housing: “This issue hits me right in the heart. As a realtor, I have the foremost knowledge of affordable housing and what we need to accomplish,” he said. Mahaffay added that he testified against a Bainbridge City Council measure to increase the real estate excise tax.

Growth management: “We need a balanced approach. Growth needs to be managed appropriately, taking into consideration what effect it has on the economy and on taxpayers,” he said. Mahaffay advocates a change to the Growth Management Act that would boost local authority. “People in Kitsap County are best able to handle local issues.”

Environmental protection: “Increasing protections is important, but balance must be applied,” he said. Environmental legislation should be “crafted with checks and balances with the detrimental affects to the economy and tax-paying citizens” taken into account, he said.

Transportation: “The Department of Transportation should see Kitsap County as a priority. The county is growing and the DOT can’t continue to look at us as if we’re on the back burner. Except for a couple miles, we’re an island. We’re trapped. We depend on ferries and the Tacoma Narrows Bridge,” he said. Mahaffay said economic prosperity depends on the county’s over-water connections. “Problems with our ferries and bridges infringes on business to be mobile and will have a negative effect on the economy.”

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