I understand why Republican candidates for County Commission are calling themselves “Independents”. Disguising their strident and out-of-date political philosophy may help their election chances in a county that values its environment, health and human services and criminal justice reform.
Nearly 90 percent of county tax dollars are spent on jail and court services. These “Independents" don’t understand the true cost of funding a larger jail instead of alternate restorative programs that keep people out of jail and lead to a safer community. Neither do they support Community Policing.
One so-called “Independent”, Gary Edwards, served for 20 years as sheriff, and never ever advocated for reforms to save tax money or better offenders’ lives - just a larger jail. Remember the unsuccessful 2004 ballot issue he was behind to fund a $100 million jail?
The other “Independent”, John Hutchings, former Olympia police officer, ran a campaign against Olympia’s community policing program, using intimidation tactics against me, its advocate, and my downtown business.
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Both have had their chance to improve our government and failed.
Kelsey Hulse and Jim Cooper unabashedly run as Democrats. They support land use that preserves our farmland, forests, shorelines and prairies. They believe our cities should accommodate growth. They care for our families who face poverty and homelessness. They recognize the need to modernize the criminal justice system.
We know who Kelsey and Jim are and what they stand for. They deserve our votes.