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Island County commissioner candidates share vision
While candidates for Island County Commissioner District 3 share the desire to help shape the future of the county, their individual visions differ widely.
The five candidates — four Republicans and one Democrat — will compete for the top two slots in the Aug. 5 primary and advance to the general election in November. District 3 voters will select the two final candidates, but the winner will be selected in a county-wide vote.
Camano Island Republican Kelly Bagley, a quality assurance technician for Amazon, said his priority will be bringing “joy” to Island County.
Bagley said he learned this “joyful” model while he served as a missionary in Africa, and would provide the same model to each department head and committee chairperson.
As a leader, Bagley said he would ask staff what they need to do their jobs and free them to use their creativity in problem solving.
“It all comes back to joy,” Bagley said.“I would say, ‘How can I help? What do you need to unblock your creativity?’” Bagley said. “This is at the root of all the issues the county faces.”
“I’m hearing from people that we are spending a lot of money and they don’t like how we’re spending it,” Hennemann said. “What about roads? What about roads?”Marc Hennemann, also of Camano, said he plans to be a good steward for constituents’ tax dollars if elected.
Hennemann, a Republican, served in the Air Force for 21 years and earned a master’s of public administration from the University of Oklahoma.
Hennemann said he’d like to see the county’s property taxation structure changed to give older residents and families a break.
Retired Navy chief Richard Hannold, a North Whidbey resident, has said he doesn’t like the way politics are going and wants to make decisions according to the will of the people.
Hannold, also a Republican, was previously elected to the Oak Harbor Christian School board and served three years.
Hannold could not be reached this week for further comment.“You’re supposed to speak for the people you work for,” said Hannold in an interview earlier this year. “These people don’t work for you, you work for them. A leader listens to his people.”
Camano Center Executive Director Karla Jacks, the sole Democrat, said if elected she wants to focus on the county’s growth management plan and spend time looking at the infrastructure of the county.
Jacks said she plans to work closely with the department heads to help give her a sense of the “big picture” when making decisions.
“I want to have an understanding of what the foundation is so I can understand where they are coming from so we can meet the needs of the community,” Jacks said.
Jacks said the way to do this is have a better collaboration among the commissioners than has occurred in the past.
The board has been strained over the last year due to disruptions and disagreements between the commissioners. The issue came to a head in May when former commissioner Kelly Emerson suddenly quit her position.
Camano Island Republican Aubrey Vaughan, who was selected last month to serve as interim commissioner until the election, said that his top priority is working with the other two commissioners to find practical solutions.
Vaughan has served on the county’s Law and Justice Committee for the past year.
“I want to demonstrate that I am a participant in governance,” Vaughan said. “It doesn’t have to be the way it was. You don’t walk into a room with a solution. You have to work with people.”
Vaughan said he hopes to bridge the divide between Whidbey and Camano islands and help the residents of his district feel heard and represented.