A state senator with nine years in office is being challenged by a precinct committee officer who blames state government for handling COVID-19 poorly, leading to many economic problems.
Christine Rolfes is a Democrat who chairs the powerful Ways and Means Committee.
She is being challenged for a four-year term by Republican Pam Madden-Boyer in the 23rd Legislative District, which includes Bainbridge Island, Poulsbo and North Kitsap County. Unlike many in the GOP, she favors being a good steward of the environment.
In the Senate she’s most proud of historical funding improvements for K-12 public schools, expansion of workforce training and financial aid, reducing college tuition, helping military families with job and school transitions, and reforming the behavioral health system. She’s also proud of the Orca protection legislation and her work on climate change with the 100% clean energy law.
As for the future, recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic is foremost on her mind. “Our state entered this crisis in a strong position, ranked high nationally for our fiscal health and diverse economy,” she said in the statewide voters pamphlet.
The next legislative session will be challenging, but she said she has high goals. “During this recovery, I will work to get our region the support we need to help people stay in their homes, create new jobs, rebuild small businesses, increase access to higher education and apprenticeships, and make health care more affordable,” she said in the voters guide.
Rolfes is a former Bainbridge Island City Councilmember, elected twice, and state representative. She moved to Bainbridge in 1992 and worked for Kitsap County on water resource and open space issues. Prior to that she was an advisor and development officer for the U.S. Agency for International Development. She has a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Virginia and a master’s in Public Administration from the University of Washington.
Rolfes’ community service includes serving on the advisory boards of Kitsap Community Resources and the Silverdale YMCA, along with being engaged in the Bainbridge Island Land Trust and Great Peninsula Conservancy. She’s a member of the Rolling Bay Presbyterian Church, the Kitsap League of Women Voters, Poulsbo Historical Society, and associate member of the Bainbridge Island and Bremergton Rotary clubs. She and her husband live on a historic farm on Bainbridge Island with two goats, six chickens and an indoor pet rabbit. She said she has the endorsements of local teachers, nurses and firefighters.
She said state government needs to start listening to constituents.
“Government must be reigned in,” she said in the voters pamphlet. “We’ve seen Olympia ignore the will of the people in such matters as the sex-ed bill, new taxes and unwanted fees. I’m running to rectify this disparagement.”
She is also critical of state government regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. “Some responses by government often did more harm than the virus,” she said in the guide.
Madden-Boyer said the state’s economy had been thriving, with greater consumer confidence allowing for the collection of more sales tax revenue. “Unfortunately monumental increases in government spending and additional COVID-19 response has strained our budgets,” she said in the pamphlet.
She favors spending tax money on the environment.
“I am a lifelong environmentalist always doing my part to minimize impact on the land – long before it became a front-and-center issue. We can have both a healthy environment and a prosperous economy using responsible policies that encourage and reward ‘green’ thinking.”
As a leader, Madden-Boyer said she has the ability to look at tasks from multiple perspectives and produce innovative solutions, increasing efficiency and positive results.
Madden-Boyer is retired from the Central Kitsap School District. She is a businesswoman now, co-owning and managing a construction company. She previously has owned an all-ages billiard parlor and an Italian restaurant. She attended Olympic College and Central Washington University with a focus on teaching and education.
For community service she has volunteered to be a leader in both Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts. She’s also coached soccer and served as an officer on the board of Tracyton Fast pitch and Bremerton Roller Hockey associations. Also she served on the parent board of the TEAM program with the CKSD.