Candidates make pitch at rally

OLYMPIA – If it’s election primary season, it must be time for the Thurston County Progressive Network Town Hall picnic.

Sunday was the day of the annual event, in which picnic-goers have brought food, mingled, and also listened to candidates give a three-minute presentation on a question that’s pertinent to the seat they are running for. The first was held in 2004.

More than 20 candidates for local offices were scheduled to appear Sunday, and about 160 people expressed plans to come to the annual picnic, organizer Sherri Goulet said.

People who join the Thurston County Progressive Network do not come from any one political party but are those who support “social, economic and environmental justice,” according to the group’s Web site. Some of those issues relate to climate change and equal rights.

“It’s a celebration of our members, who are people who support a sustainable community,” she said.

“The best part is their visiting with each other. The food and the visiting,” Goulet said.

The atmosphere allows people and candidates to be more casual than at some other candidate forums, said picnic attendee Marilyn Funk, president of the Thurston County League of Women Voters.

“I think this is a great idea,” Funk said.

The picnic has become a regular campaign stop for the Olympia city council candidates, Goulet said. Most of those candidates were scheduled to appear Sunday, as were candidates for port commissioner, county commissioner and the candidates in the five-way race for Tumwater mayor.

Two Lacey city council candidates, Cynthia Pratt, who is councilwoman Ann Burgman’s challenger, and Andy Ryder, who challenging councilman John Darby, also requested to come to the picnic this year, Goulet said.

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