Cleverley, Henden square off in GOP primary -- Candidate profiles

The winner faces Democrat incumbent Chris Endresen.

Two North Kitsap Republicans are vying to face incumbent Democrat Chris Endresen in the race for the Kitsap County Commission’s north-end seat.

The Sept. 14 primary will decide which Republican – electrician Scott Henden or attorney Matthew Cleverley – will move on to November’s general election.

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Matthew Cleverley

Party: Republican

Office sought: Kitsap County Commissioner, District 1 (North Kitsap)

Age: 35

Occupation: Attorney

Hometown: Suquamish

Birthplace: Idaho Falls, Idaho

Education: Law degree, Lewis and Clark College (Portland, Ore.); bachelor’s degree in psychology, University of Utah (Salt Lake City).

Civic involvement: Suquamish Advisory Board member, Suquamish Incorporation Project chairman, former Cub Scout den leader, Little League baseball coach and high school debate judge.

Endorsements: Cross Sound Transportation Coalition, Kitsap County Deputy Sheriff’s Guild.

Web site:

Why he’s running: “I’m running because I think we need a change in leadership in our county. We have problems now that have lasted eight years and haven’t been addressed by the current commission. We need to elect someone with the skills and background who can take care of the problems we need to address.”

On the issues

Affordable housing: “We have an affordable housing crisis because of a poor job of planning and developing over the last eight years. There’s not an easy fix and we need to attack this problem on several fronts. We need higher-wage jobs where people earn more. We need to address some of the regulations preventing business from being able to expand. We need to address regulations that are causing the cost of housing to increase. We need to address infrastructure, where instead of paying $15,000 to $30,000 for septic systems, we provide sewer and water connections.”

Growth management: We need to identify where business and housing development should be and (allow) growth to occur. As it is now, we have a hodgepodge of ordinances and incentives that aren’t helping to drive development into any one area.”

Environmental protection: “We need to balance growth with environmental protection. We need to do what we can to protect our quality of life and prevent contamination of our streams and aquifers.”

Transportation: “Key to having a good transportation system is that it be safe, efficient and effective. Improved traffic flow protects the environment and creates a better economy because it makes people spend less time in traffic.”

Jobs: “We need to create an environment in Kitsap County where existing businesses can grow and expand and new businesses feel welcome. Right now, new businesses may take three to six years to get through all the regulations and permits. We need to increase the technologies available to stay competitive in the marketplace and we need to support our local businesses and their successes.”

Top priority: “I’d like the county to return to its core functions: public safety, transportation and providing the infrastructure to grow the economy. I’d like to refocus on the basics of government.”

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Scott Henden

Party: Republican

Office sought: Kitsap County Commissioner, District 1 (North Kitsap)

Age: 43

Occupation: Owner of Henden Electric

Hometown: Kingston

Birthplace: Ridgecrest, Calif.

Education: four years of trade school

Civic involvement: Kitsap County Habitat for Humanity board member, Little League coach and sponsor, Junior Wrestling coach, Kingston - North Kitsap Rotary member, Kingston Chamber of Commerce member, Poulsbo Chamber of Commerce member, former Kitsap County Emergency Management volunteer.

Endorsements: Mason/Kitsap County Farm Bureau, Kitsap County Association of Realtors.

Web site:

Why he’s running: “I can make a difference. I’ve been in the county for 41 years and have a business background. I have something to offer citizens that was not being offered to them.”

On the issues

Affordable housing: “We are in a crisis with affordable housing. Areas like Keyport and Suquamish have not been designated urban growth areas. We need to look at these areas that are without sewer and water and make steps in the right direction. Urban boundaries need to be adjusted so they are fair and consistent.

Growth management: “I believe growth management has hurt a number of people in the county,” he said, adding that the Growth Management Act has made it difficult for landowners to develop their land and has increased prices. “It’s a state law, and we have to work with it. But we can take tenets of it, including affordable housing, and ask why it’s not meeting requirements.”

Environmental protection: “We need to do a better job with the environment than we’ve done. If we go back 20 years, we can see that some of our practices, such as with storm water treatment and septic systems, were wrong and inappropriate. We’ve seen how we can do better. But there should be balance. Landowners have constitutional protections that need to be honored. Many of our environmental problems, like in Hood Canal, will take multi-county efforts to resolve. We have to look at areas we control where we can help, such as offering low-income loans for new septic designs.”

Transportation: “We need to take steps now to solve our traffic problems. People on Bainbridge know that driving on Highway 305 between 3:30 and 6 p.m. is not good. We need to address these traffic problems, and not just study them. We have to take a look at our budget and see if our spending is meeting our goals. We need to ask ourselves whether there are ways to get more bang for our buck.”

Jobs: “I’ve been in business in the county for 19 years. As an electrician, I come into a project just after people have dealt with the permit process and the story I always hear is that the county is not being helpful to business, growth and the jobs that come with them.”

Top priority: “If I could deal with only one issue, it’d be the budget. Most other issues drive from that. We have to ask why the budget went from $220 million to $370 million in seven years. We need to answer this question and show people how we’re spending their money.”

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