Camano Island resident Marc Hennemann said as county commissioner he would keep taxes down and make public safety a priority.
Hennemann is the second Republican to announce his candidacy for Island County District 3 commissioner, a position currently held by Commissioner Kelly Emerson. Karla Jacks, a Democrat and Camano Island resident, and Richard Hannold, a Republican and North Whidbey resident, have already thrown their hats into the ring.
Hennemann said he has met fellow Republican Richard Hannold, but believes he can offer a wider breadth of experience. Hennemann served in various capacities in the Air Force for 21 years and earned a masters of public administration from the University of Oklahoma.
In addition, Hennemann said he plans on “raising and spending a good bit” of money to win. Hannold, in contrast, has said he plans to keep it simple and take a grassroots approach including going door to door.
“I’m willing to spend the money on the campaign,” Hennemann said. “There’s no point in finishing an election with money in the bank.”
Among his top priorities is ensuring the county has proper funding and resources for public safety.
“I want to make sure that Sheriff [Mark] Brown has the money he needs to do his job,” Hennemann said.
In addition, he would like to see the county’s expenditure process change from an incremental budget model, where departments are given extra money as needed each year, to a zero-based budget model, where departments must assume that no extra money will be available.
“That has proven a good way to hold down expenses,” Hennemann said. “I want to hold down taxes. There may be a time when we need more taxes, but I don’t see it now. We need to get a lid on what people spend.”
On the subject of controversial Outlying Field Coupeville and the aircraft noise, Hennemann said he would “side with OLF” and those who support the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station.
Still, Hennemann said he would be willing to talk to those who would like to see the airfield closed.
“Even though I live on Camano I would be elected island-wide,” Hennemann said.
As Island County deals with the legalization of recreational marijuana, Hennemann said he’d prefer to see the growing and processing operations in industrial areas instead of rural areas.
He said the rural areas may “present problems” and negatively affect neighboring properties.
Hennemann said he plans to purchase a boat and travel across the water from Camano Island to attend all meetings in person.
Born in San Diego, Hennemann grew up in New York State. In addition to his master’s degree, he also holds a bachelor’s in political science. A Vietnam veteran, Hennemann joined the U.S. Air Force as an intelligence technician shortly after college graduation. After leaving active duty to complete his education, he returned to active duty as an intelligence technician. In addition to completing tours in South Korea, Turkey, Panama and Saudi Arabia, Hennemann also assisted with various tactical operations abroad from bases in South Carolina and Virginia.
Following his retirement from the Air Force, Hennemann worked as a social studies teacher.
Hennemann and his wife, Irma, moved to Camano Island in 2012. They have two grown children, a shih tzu dog and a Maine Coon cat.