EDITORIAL | Island County ready for new commissioner

Just when we thought Island County Commissioner Kelly Emerson was out of surprises, she delivered yet another shocker this week.

Following a heated discussion with her fellow board members at their regular meeting, she announced with all the pomp and drama for which she has come to be known that she is resigning. The Tea Party Republican — the same commissioner who sued the county, refused to pay thousands of dollars in fines for building violations, was kicked out of her role as chairwoman by her colleagues for defying the board’s consensus and had questionable attendance for months — doesn’t like the way the other kids play, so is picking up her ball and going home. She’s packing up her things and leaving seven months before the job is done.

To this we say, good luck in your future endeavors Mrs. Emerson, and thanks for your … service. But fear not for the constituents you leave behind. We’ll be OK, for there are many who would gratefully and humbly don the District 3 hat in service to the greater Island County community.

On that note, the task is now on Commissioner Helen Price Johnson, a District 1 Democrat, and Commissioner Jill Johnson, a District 2 Republican, to fill the vacancy until voters can make their choice known this November in the general election.

It’s a big task, but one that was performed just a few years ago under a similar political makeup when longtime South Whidbey Republican commissioner Mike Shelton resigned for a job in Olympia. The result of that decision saw the appointment of Phil Bakke, the county’s then planning chief.

While he lost his bid in the following election to Price Johnson, the process to select him was made in a bi-partisan way by two commissioners of very different politics — then Republican commissioner Mac McDowell and commissioner John Dean, a Camano Democrat. While ultimately voters saw fit to select a different representative, the process is evidence that commissioners of different politics can work together in a harmonious way.

May the following selection process be equally smooth and reset the example of how good leaders who don’t always agree can work together toward a common goal.

Those interested in filling the immediate vacancy may contact the Island County Republican Party via its website at www.islandcountygop.com Emerson was elected as a Republican, which grants the party the option of coming up with a list of three finalists for the commissioners to select from.


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