Party emphasizes support for Hyer, not alleged acts

The OlympianFebruary 23, 2010 

The Thurston County Democratic Party's executive committee stressed Monday night that its statement of qualified support for Olympia Mayor Pro Tem Joe Hyer in no way endorses or supports illegal activities.

“We expect laws to be followed, and those in public office to do so,” said Russ Olsen, the party’s second vice chairman, who presided at a meeting Monday night.

Olsen then read a copy of the statement. There was no further discussion.

The statement was released Sunday in the wake of Hyer’s arrest by the Thurston County Narcotics Task Force on Thursday afternoon for investigation of selling marijuana from his home. Hyer is the party’s treasurer and was in line to become the next county treasurer, although that prospect appears dimmed.

Hyer was booked on suspicion of three felony counts and was released from jail after posting bail Thursday night. He has not been charged. Deputy prosecuting attorney Scott Jackson said he intends to announce a charging decision this week.

Hyer has taken a personal leave of absence and did not attend the meeting Monday night.

In the statement, the party called Hyer a “friend and political colleague.” The party stood behind its decision to recommend to county commissioners Hyer as the top nominee to succeed departing Thurston County Treasurer Robin Hunt on an interim basis until “we have seen specific charges and evidence against him.”

The statement said only Hyer, the county commissioners or the courts can make the decision that he is not qualified to hold the office.

In that event, the statement read, the party would be constitutionally obligated to rescind its list of nominees and restart the nominating process.

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