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Enell concedes race to Shelton

Mike Shelton will remain as District 1 commissioner in Island County as he will begin his 13th year of service in January.

With approximately 8,000 ballots left to count in Island County, incumbent Shelton leads with 15,146 votes compared to challenger Dean Enell’s 10,039, which prompted Enell to call Shelton Friday to concede.

“I got a call from Dean and he conceded, so I’ll accept that,” Shelton said.

Shelton faces a small budget deficit for next year, impending growth and a critical review of the county’s Growth Management Act.

“Historically, land use has been the number one issue and I’m not backing away from it if it continues to be the number one issue,” Shelton said.

One of Enell’s campaign messages was that there needs to be more equal representation on the board. A Democrat has not been elected since 1998. The Island County Auditor’s office was unable to immediately determine when the last Democrat served as commissioner for District 1.

“We need to be representative of all of the people,” Shelton said. “District 1 is the more liberal part of the county ... I believe I truly represent my district.”

Shelton said that he considers himself fairly moderate and that among his top concerns are addressing the problems of inadequate public health funding.

“The reality is that those funds are shrinking and those problems we are dealing with are growing,” Shelton said.

Shelton would not explicitly say if this would be his last term.

“I’ve got four years in front of me and that’s all I’m going to commit to,” Shelton said.

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