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Linda Haddon announces challenge to Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen

Linda Haddon is mad as heck and doesn’t want to take it any more.

Mainly, she’s upset about high property taxes and the state ferry system.

Haddon will run this year as a Republican against longtime state Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen for the 10th District Senate seat. The district includes all of Island County and parts of Snohomish and Skagit counties.

Haugen, D-Camano Island, registered with the state as a candidate for reelection in December 2006.

“It’s ludicrous how much our taxes have risen,” Haddon said.

“The state’s budget has gone up 33 percent in three years. Senior citizens are being taxed out of their homes and that’s a terrible thing.”

Haddon believes the Legislature should also budget to its income, not the other way around.

“They have it all backwards,” she said.

Her other issue is the state ferry system. She criticized Haugen, the chairwoman of the Senate’s transportation committee, for sharing part of the blame for the deteriorating Steel Electric ferry on the Keystone-Port Townsend run. The ferry was pulled from service in late November due to safety concerns.

“As far as I’m concerned, the ferries are the last straw,” Haddon said.

“Haugen has known for 20 years those (Steel Electric) ferries needed to be replaced. We must upgrade and maintain them — that’s all part of the state highway system. It never should have gotten to this point,” she said.

Though some in the Republican party have been reluctant to point fingers over the ferry mess — Rep. Barbara Bailey told The Record earlier this month that the ferry system “isn’t and shouldn’t be a partisan issue” — others in the GOP have seized on the ferries as a campaign issue. Gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi has made the ferry issue a part of his campaign, and the state Republican Party purchased ads in local newspapers last week that criticized Haugen over the ferry issue and said she should start “paying attention” to her district.

Haddon did not offer any specifics on how to remedy the ferry situation.

Last month, Gov. Christine Gregoire announced she would put $100 million in the 2008 supplemental state budget to pay for new ferries.

Asked about Bailey’s plea to avoid the blame game about the ferry issue, Haddon said she isn’t running against Bailey.

“Hopefully, once I’m elected we can all work together to get this problem resolved,” she said. “Barbara is doing the best she can and I’m grateful for all her efforts.”

When pressed, Haddon said she did not specifically know people who had been taxed out of their homes.

She did say, however, that she has heard several people talk about selling their homes due to high taxes.

Haddon, 59, was raised in Grants Pass, Ore. She was a member of the “Save NAS Whidbey Task Force” and helped lead efforts to keep Naval Air Station Whidbey Island from closing in 1991. She has also been active in many civic groups.

She is a member of the Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce, the Navy League and Soroptimists.

Haddon’s husband Jim manages Burley Funeral Home in Oak Harbor and she works there as a pre-arrangement burial and cremation advisor.

“I’m in people’s homes all the time and taxes are a big issue with them,” she noted. “It’s time for a change.”

“The government’s role is to serve, not to dictate or assume a parental role with its citizens,” Haddon said in her campaign announcement. “The government needs to work for the people — not the other way around.”

Haddon said she thinks she can beat the longtime incumbent.

“Mary Margaret Haugen won the last race with less than 51 percent of the vote, so I’m convinced this race is very winnable,” Haddon said.

Jeff VanDerford can be reached at 221-5300 or jvanderford@southwhidbeyrecord.com.

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