Second candidate in race for Emerson seat

Retired Navy Chief Richard Hannold has announced plans to run for Island County Board of Commissioners Distict 3 seat, currently held by Kelly Emerson. - Janis Reid/Whidbey News-Times
Retired Navy Chief Richard Hannold has announced plans to run for Island County Board of Commissioners Distict 3 seat, currently held by Kelly Emerson.
— image credit: Janis Reid/Whidbey News-Times

North Whidbey Repub-lican Richard Hannold says he will run for Island County commissioner for the same reason he joined the Navy.

“I feel like maybe I can make a difference,” Hannold said Friday.

Hannold filed with the state’s Public Disclosure Commission to run against Democrat Karla Jacks for Island County District No. 3, the position currently held by Kelly Emerson.

Emerson said in December that she will not seek reelection in 2014 citing the toll the commute has taken on her personal life.

Jacks, a Camano Island resident, announced in August her intention to run.

Hannold, a retired Navy chief, said he’s been “very fortunate” to have been stationed at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station for his entire 21-year career.

“I love it here,” he said.

Hannold said he joined the Navy relatively late in life — at 29 — because “he felt he had missed something important” in his life, namely serving his country.

Now a self-employed contractor, Hannold worked on the EA-6B Prowlers during his Navy career and has a background training new recruits on maintenance procedures. He was also elected to the Oak Harbor Christian School board and served three years.

Hannold said he decided to run for District 3, which comprises North Whidbey Island and Camano Island, for two reasons.

First, Hannold said he doesn’t “like the direction politics are going” in this country.

“You’re supposed to speak for the people you work for,” Hannold said. “These people don’t work for you, you work for them. A leader listens to his people.”

Second, he said he didn’t want to see yet another election proceed with an unopposed candidate.

“I wasn’t going to let Karla Jacks run unopposed,” Hannold said. “We should give people a choice.”

Even though he’s a registered Republican, Hannold said he wouldn’t necessarily follow party lines.

“If the majority say this is the way it should be, that’s how I’ll vote,” Hannold said. “I think I might bring a lot of common sense and reason that the military breeds. That way we can get things moving along.”

Hannold referenced the Island County commissioners spat in 2013 over who served as chairperson. After repeatedly pressuring the other commissioners, Emerson was finally granted the role of chairwoman in July, only to be stripped of the title a few months later for disregarding board consensus.

“Why is it important who the chair person is?” Hannold asked. “You should be talking about issues.”

Not planning to raise much money for his campaign, Hannold said he’s looking at “going at this old school” with door knocking and talking to residents.

Hannold said he’s not as familiar with Camano Island as he’d like to be. But, by Nov. 4, he plans to be very familiar with the concerns and ideas of residents throughout District 3.

Emerson said that she believes that District 3 is a “conservative district” and that the constituents will “continue to enjoy conservative representation.”

“I hope that they continue to elect conservative government representation because I think the country will be better off,” Emerson said.

“We can’t afford big government ­— I hope people are seeing that.”

Hannold made headlines in 2006 when he and his wife, Amy, were the victims of William Dean Adams, a Monroe attorney who was convicted of forging court documents. Hannold was in the process of adopting this wife’s son, Ben, when they discovered that the appropriate paperwork wasn’t filed.

“We put our complete faith and trust in Mr. Adams that this was going to be handled prior to my deployment to Afghanistan,” Hannold said in 2006.

Adopted as a child himself, Hannold said he was familiar with the process and admitted that he felt something was off.

“It was horrible,” Hannold said. “Poor Amy. I said don’t worry, I will make it right.”

Eventually, the Hannolds were able to complete the adoption with another attorney and Judge Alan Hancock made a special visit to their home to complete the paperwork.

“It all came out well,” Hannold said.

Hannold and his wife have two children, Ben, who is now 16, and Grace, 10.


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