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UPDATE | Crowded field in some races guarantees a Primary Election

The races for the Bainbridge Island City Council and Fire Department have been shaken up recently with entries, departures, and a switcheroo.

Wayne Roth, an eminent pioneer in public radio, filed as a candidate for the Central Ward, Position 5 city council seat on May 16 against Arlene Buetow.

John Green, who had announced his candidacy for the same seat in March, said Monday he was dropping out of the race, citing the similarities he shares with Buetow for the future of city politics.

Roth, 69, is currently the president of KUOW, the flagship National Public Radio member station in Seattle.

He also serves as general manager of Puget Sound Public Radio. Roth announced plans last month to retire from KUOW in September.

Roth has a long and distinguished career in public broadcasting, with a career stretching 45 years, and he has led KUOW since 1983.

He was awarded the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcast in 2005 for “outstanding contributions to public radio.”

In the District 3 South Ward council race, Dee McComb threw her hat into the ring against islanders Robert Bosserman and Roger Townsend on May 17, ensuring a primary election in August that will weed out two candidates for the General Election in November.

While McComb, 66 is new to elected office, she is no stranger to local politics. She has been involved at both the state and national levels through the settlement and loan industries. Through her work in the escrow profession, where she closed commercial and residential properties, McComb has committed 35 years to areas ranging from resource management and affordable housing to education and schools.

She has served as president of the National Escrow Association and is currently the president of Bainbridge Island Rowing.

“I am a good listener, appreciate the value of consensus building as well as communication,” McComb said.  “Always new challenges facing the community in growth management and where people are going to work, live and play and keep that unique Bainbridge flavor to downtown.”

In the District 7 North Ward council race, Richard “Dick” Haugan, 68, filed as a candidate on May 17 against Val Tollefson.

The field has also been shaken up for fire commissioner positions for the board of the Bainbridge Island Fire Department.

Meghan McKnight, a former code enforcement officer for the city of Bainbridge Island, withdrew as a candidate for the Position 5 seat on the board on May 17 and refiled as a candidate for Position 2 to avoid an August Primary Election.

That plan didn’t last long, however, as YongSuk Cho also filed that afternoon, joining David H. Lynch in the Position 2 seat.

The two candidates who get the most votes in the primary will advance to November’s General Election.

McKnight’s move from the Position 5 to Position 2 race now leaves just two candidates for Position 5; Theresa “Teri” Dettmer and Holly vanSchaick.

McKnight, 33, has contemplated serving as a fire commissioner before.

She sought an appointed position last year after Susan Cohen’s resignation left a vacancy on the five-member board. The board selected Dan Morrow for the post.

Morrow is also running to retain his seat, and faces no challengers in this year’s election.

McKnight said she was running to help the fire department reach its goals.

“I have worked extensively with the Bainbridge Island Fire Department and I understand the governance of using public funds in a manner that promotes safety and department expectations while being efficient and open to scrutiny,” she said.

“During the recent years of economic recession, the fire department was able to identify and address areas of needed improvement, while maintaining financial viability,” McKnight said. “Now is the time to build on that foundation to take advantage of those opportunities.”

When Cho, 43, moved to Bainbridge Island from South Korea when he was 17, he wasn’t able to speak English. Through the English as a Second Language program on the island, he had the opportunity to become a volunteer firefighter in 1991 at the Bainbridge Island Fire Department.

“With their help and guidance, I was able to start my career as a paid firefighter in the Seattle Fire Department a decade later,” Cho said. “I have a deep sense of community and appreciation toward the fire department as well as the people of Bainbridge Island that it serves.”

Cho has worked as a volunteer firefighter and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) on Bainbridge for 22 years and as a career firefighter/EMT for the Seattle Fire Department for 14 years. He has also served 8 years at the Federal Emergency Management Agency as a part of a Disaster Medical Assistance Team.

If Cho is elected, he will have to step down as a volunteer firefighter with the department, but he is hoping to change the policy, which is determined by the board of commissioners.

In the Position 4 Fire Department race, Eileen McSherry and William Ruddick will face off in the General Election in November.

Other races on the ballot will include:

Bainbridge Island School District: Dale Perry and Mike Spence, District 2; Mary Ellen “Mev” Hoberg, District 3; Sheila Jakubik, District 5.

Bainbridge Island Parks & Recreation: Lee Cross, Position 1; John “Tom” Swolgaard, Position 3; and Jay Kinney, Position 4.

Crystal Springs Water District 3: No candidates have filed for this position.

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