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Helen Price Johnson takes oath to become first woman Island County commissioner
Helen Price Johnson became the first woman county commissioner in Island County history today, taking the oath of office just after 3 p.m. in a packed courtroom in Coupeville.
A huge crowd came to watch the short ceremony; people packed the 90-person capacity of the bench area, and other observers filled the jury box. Outside the courtroom, people crammed the doorway and a long line of well-wishers — too late to make it inside for the swearing-in ceremony — snaked from the metal detector station at the front of the courthouse and onto the sidewalk.
Price Johnson, 50, beat incumbent Republican Phil Bakke for the District 1 position with 52 percent of the vote in the general election. Bakke collected 47 percent of the vote. The election was certified just after noon Tuesday.
Marshall Goldberg, chairman of the county Democrats, noted the significance of Price Johnson's victory and the election of its first female commissioner.
"Island County will never be the same again," Goldberg said.
Incumbent County Auditor Sheilah Crider also took the oath of office today. She defeated fellow Republican James Palmer.
Price Johnson, a Clinton resident, will attend her first board of commissioners meeting Wednesday afternoon; a budget workshop in Coupeville.