I've known Karen Valenzuela since she arrived on the Tumwater City Council. She was, and is, very intelligent and articulate, compassionate and principled and courageous.
I've particularly admired Valenzuela and her fellow commissioners for their diligent work on the recent state-mandated land use plan reviews. Those public meetings were often packed with vehement objectors, some openly displaying firearms. Still, the commission adopted plans that did what was needed, and which have not been challenged.
Commissioner-elect Bud Blake will find that, considering the county's fiscal challenges, Valenzuela built better than his campaign gave her credit for. He won't be the first Republican (sorry, independent) to upset an incumbent commissioner only to discover that his or her most fervent supporters' dreams of wholesale upheaval are impractical at best. Inevitably, he'll have to disappoint them.
Elected office can be an amazing learning experience and growth opportunity. I wish him all the best.