Haddon runs against Haugen

Concerned about high property taxes and seeing a campaign issue in the state ferry controversy on Whidbey Island, Oak Harbor resident Linda Haddon has decided to run for the Washington State Senate.

A Republican, Haddon will be trying to unseat veteran Senator Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island. It’s her first run for political office.

Haugen said late last year she intends to run for another term but she hasn’t made her formal announcement yet.

Haddon works in the funeral industry, selling pre-arrangement insurance and helping her husband, Jim, who manages Burley Funeral Chapel in Oak Harbor. She said her job takes her into many homes, and often the older people she deals with express concern about property taxes. Some are even forced to sell.

“It’s wrong to tax people out of their homes,” Haddon said.

She believes the state government is overspending. “To me ‘budget’ is not a noun, it’s a verb,” she said. “I’m a taxpayer and I’m very concerned about the situation.”

Whidbey Island’s Keystone to Port Townsend ferry route has been without a vehicle ferry since November when the aging Steel Electric boats were taken out of service for safety reasons. As Haddon sees it, Haugen is partly to blame.

“It’s time for a change,” she said. “The same legislator has represented us for the past 25 years and during that time we’ve seen ferry service get worse and our taxes get higher.”

Haddon answered “oh, yes,” when asked if the ferry situation has hurt Haugen. “It’s not just a Republican issue,” she said. “Everyone realizes she’s the chairman of the (Senate) Transportation Committee.”

Haddon, 59, was raised in Grants Pass, Ore. She has been active in the Oak Harbor community as a member of Soroptimists, Chamber of Commerce, Navy League and other organizations. She helped Whidbey Island keep its Navy base in 1991 when it was threatened with closure, going so far as to meet with the Secretary of Defense in Washington, D.C.

“That’s the kind of energy and determination our state senator needs to tell our story,” she said.

Haddon sees Haugen as politically vulnerable, due to budget and ferry issues and her narrow margin of victory in 2004.

“Mary Margaret Haugen won the last race with less than 51 percent of the vote, so I’m convinced the race is very winnable,” she said, promising an “aggressive campaign” for the position.

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