Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson and incumbent state Rep. Sherry Appleton went head to head on Tuesday, Oct. 2 during the Greater Hansville Community Center’s annual Pie Social and Candidates Night.
“This has become a great Hansville tradition,” said the evening’s moderator Fred Nelson. “Some of the candidates said, ‘We wouldn’t miss this for anything. These pies are delicious.’”
Each candidate was offered the opportunity to provide a two-minute opening statement. Erickson didn’t waste the opportunity to take a jab at her opponent.
“Why am I running for state [representative]? Because I got mad,” the Poulsbo mayor said. “Every time I run for office it’s because I have gotten mad. Things were going on that I did not agree with and I had to stand up.”
“What did I get mad over? The Public Records Act,” Erickson continued. “When the state Legislature got together in a 24-hour period — both Republicans and the Democrats — and passed a law that said that we couldn’t see their emails, when all people in local government have to disclose those to the public. When they did that, I got mad. Sherry Appleton is part of that.”
Instead of responding to Erickson, Appleton opted to use her time to point out her experience with Washington’s Legislature and her other accolades.
“I am chair of local government and I sit also on public safety and state government, which we deal with elections technology and the like,” Appleton said. “I also serve on the commission on judicial conduct. I am on the Office of Public Defense Advisory Committee. I was Legislator of the Year for the Department of Veteran’s Affairs — that was in 2011. I was national legislator of the year for elder and adult services.”
A proposed carbon tax initiative, gun control and sexual education were the topics of questions put forth to the two candidates.
When asked how the candidates felt about Senate Bill 6617, which sought to provide public records act exemptions to legislators, Erickson responded first.
“Well that’s why I’m here,” Erickson began. “We need to see what’s going on in our state Legislature. I have to disclose all of my emails as a mayor. … We need to know what’s going on, how our laws get made. It’s critically important for the future of our state.”
“It’s wrong; what they did was wrong,” Erickson added.
Appleton appeared to roll with the punches in her response to the same question.
“I was one of those bad legislators,” Appleton started. “I have to refute what Becky said. The Democrats and Republicans did not get together. This was a Senate bill, and all of a sudden we got called to a committee and we were told by staff what was in it and then after it was over, my heart just sunk. … I sent out a letter immediately saying that I was wrong. We’re not infallible.
“All of us who had voted for the bill wrote a letter to Governor Inslee — who had made a promise to the majority leader in the senate that he would sign that — but all of us signed the letter to him and he vetoed it, which was the right thing to do and what we did was the wrong thing.”
Other candidates in attendance were:
County Assessor (unopposed) – Phil Cook
County Auditor – Paul Andrews, Richard Huddy
Congressional District 6 – Douglas Dightman, on behalf of Derek Kilmer was Karlene Rytkonen
County Coroner – Russ Reuther, Jeff Wallis
County Commissioner (Position 3) – Ed Wolfe
Kitsap Public Utility District Commissioner – Nate Andrews, Heather Pauley
Sheriff – Gary Simpson
State Representative 23rd Legislative District (Position 1) – Sherry Appleton, Becky Erickson
State Representative 23rd Legislative District (Position 2) – Drew Hansen
North Kitsap Fire & Rescue Chief Dan Smith was also on hand to discuss a replacement maintenance and operations levy for NKF&R on the ballot this year.