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Candidate Profile: Sherry Appleton, 23rd Legislative District, Position 1

Sherry Appleton: Taking care of her constituents comes first.

POULSBO – State Rep. Sherry Appleton has been plugged into the state capitol’s political scene for 15 years – four of them as a representative – and considers herself a responsive leader who knows the process well.

Her grass-roots approach is a natural since she spent eight years on the Poulsbo City Council before going to Olympia.

Fresh off a trip to Lexington, Ky., where she was one of 40 selected leaders throughout the country to participate in the Toll Fellowship Program, Appleton says it’s not unusual for her to field as many as 500 emails a day while in session.

“I’m very responsive to all my constituents,” she said. “If you’ve ever emailed me in the middle of the night you know you will get an answer.”

She doesn’t think the state’s system is a broken one, and considers herself a conduit between citizens and government in a solving manner.

“It’s far from perfect,” she said. “But if we work together we’ll find the solutions.”

Her short-term goals for the district include funding the Poulsbo Marine Science Center and Kitsap Well-Baby Program, two budget items nixed this year. She won’t change her approach, only going at it with continued emphasis.

She also looks to achieve funding for the Kingston community center project.

In the long run, Appleton aims to solve the ferry crisis. Building new boats and making ferries more affordable are changes she hopes to see in the marine highway system’s future.

“I, for one, would like to see a redistribution of the gas tax so ferries have more stable funding and we stop making our commuters pay for the system,” she said.

She’s also wants to shield school districts from the financial crisis.

“Basic education is the paramount duty of the state – so says our constitution,” she said. “We need our children to be well-rounded. Colleges look for kids who have not only good grades, but who have participated in their communities. Besides the core subjects, children need art, music, physical education, libraries, language, etc.”

Appleton also made note of her efforts to cap payday lending, a “predatory” trade banned in 13 states.

Environmentally speaking, the incumbent’s on a trajectory to boost the cleanup of area waterways.

“As an original partner with the Puget Sound Partnership, it is most important that we restore Puget Sound and the Hood Canal to reasonable health,” she said.

“It won’t be easy and it won’t be quick, but if we lose this precious jewel, it will hurt us economically and esthetically.”

In reference to health care, Appleton said she’ll keep up her support of her Universal Health Care bill – House Bill 1886 – which “is different from a single-payer system and allows people to keep their own insurance, or insurance from their employers, or health care coverage from the state.” It isn’t a socialization of the system, she said.

On her radar are the 40,000 kids in Washington state currently uninsured.

“If you have healthy children, you have healthy adults; you spend $1, you save $3,” she said.

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