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Shelton to lead Washington counties in Olympia

"When state legislators hear from Washington's counties in 2001, the voice that reaches their ears will be that of Mike Shelton.Last month the Washington State Association of Counties (WSAC) elected the Republican Island County commissioner as its president. As the organization's chief executive, Shelton will represent the state's 39 counties in Olympia, negotiating legislation on their behalf.In a press release regarding Shelton's election, WSAC executive director Bill Vogler said Shelton takes office at a time when counties are facing a budget crunch due to the passage of Initiative 722 and the lasting effects of the largely defunct I-695. Shelton said WSAC gives Washington counties a strong, single voice on issues such as this.It's the only organization that effectively represents all 39 counties at the state legislature, he said.Island County itself might benefit indirectly from Shelton's election. While Shelton said he will always be representing all the state's counties during his term as WSAC president, his new office will also give him and Island County greater access to legislators and Gov. Gary Locke.Being the president opens up some doors, Shelton said.Shelton was elected to his third term as an Island County Commissioner in November. Before succeeding Yakima County's Betty Ingham as WSAC president, Shelton had served in all the organization's leadership roles, including the vice presidency last year. Both he and Island County Commissioner Bill Thorn serve on the WSCA's legislative steering committee. "

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