County assessor won’t run again

Island County Assessor Tom Baenen announced Tuesday he will not seek another term in office.

Baenen, 74, will serve out the remainder of his third term which expires in December 2006, giving him 12 years of service in the position.

Baenen cited age and health as his main reasons for not running again. He would be 80 at the end of another term, and the job is known to be stressful.

“I decided to be around for a while,” Baenen quipped.

“By announcing early it provides an opportunity for a good campaign to develop.”

The only announced candidate to date is Don Mason, a 10-year county employee whose duties include being the clerk of the Board of Equalization, the panel that hears appeals from property owners who feel their property assessments are too high.

“I have a front row seat,” Mason, 46, said Tuesday. “I’m very experienced in how the process should be managed.”

Like Baenen, Mason is a Republican.

Baenen said he won’t endorse any candidate, saying he’s “looking forward to spirited primary and general election campaigns.”

Mason’s primary job with the county is serving as program coordinator for the Public Defender’s Office. His duties also include the role of search and rescue coordinator.

Mason lives in Freeland with his wife Susan Marchese, who teaches at Coupeville Elementary School.

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