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Republican throws in hat for Island County District 2 commissioner seat
North Whidbey Republican Richard Hannold says he will run for Island County commissioner for the same reason he joined the Navy.
“I feel like maybe I can make a difference,” Hannold said Friday.
Hannold filed with the state’s Public Disclosure Commission to run against Democrat Karla Jacks for Island County District No. 3, the position currently held by Kelly Emerson.
Emerson said in December that she will not seek re-election in 2014, citing the toll the commute has taken on her personal life.
Jacks, a Camano Island resident, announced in August her intent to run.
Hannold, a retired Navy chief, said he’s been “very fortunate” to have been stationed at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station for his entire 21-year career.
“I love it here,” he said.
Hannold said he joined the Navy relatively late in life — at 29 — because “he felt he had missed something important,” namely serving his country.
Now a self-employed contractor, Hannold worked on the EA-6B Prowlers during his Navy career and has a background training new recruits on maintenance procedures. He was also elected to the Oak Harbor Christian School board and served three years.
Hannold said he decided to run for District 3, which comprises North Whidbey Island and Camano Island, for two reasons.
First, Hannold said he doesn’t “like the direction politics are going” in this country.
“You’re supposed to speak for the people you work for,” Hannold said. “These people don’t work for you; you work for them. A leader listens to his people.”
Second, he said he didn’t want to see yet another election proceed with an unopposed candidate.
“I wasn’t going to let Karla Jacks run unopposed,” Hannold said. “We should give people a choice.”
Even though he’s a registered Republican, Hannold said he won’t necessarily follow party lines when making decisions.
“If the majority say this is the way it should be, that’s how I’ll vote,” Hannold said. “I think I might bring a lot of common sense and reason that the military breeds. That way we can get things moving along.”
Hannold referenced the Island County commissioners’ spat in 2013 over who served as chairperson. Emerson was granted the role of chairwoman in July, only to be stripped of the title a few months later for disregarding board consensus.
“Why is it important who the chair person is?” Hannold asked. “You should be talking about issues.”
Not planning to raise much money for his campaign, Hannold said he’s looking at “going at this old school” by knocking on doors and talking to residents.
Hannold said he’s not as familiar with Camano Island as he’d like to be, but by Nov. 4, he plans to be very familiar with the concerns and ideas of residents throughout District 3.
Emerson said she believes District 3 is a “conservative district” and that constituents will “continue to enjoy conservative representation.”
“We can’t afford big government — I hope people are seeing that,” she said.