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Three now in race for Island County Commissioner Kelly Emerson's position

By JANIS REID
Whidbey News-Times Staff reporter
March 9, 2014 · Updated 2:54 PM
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If he’s elected Island County commissioner, Camano Island resident Marc Hennemann said he would keep taxes down and make public safety a priority.

Hennemann is the second Republican to announce his candidacy for Island County District No. 3 commissioner, a position currently held by Commissioner Kelly Emerson.

Emerson said she is not seeking reelection.

Karla Jacks, a Democrat and Camano Island resident, and Richard Hannold, a Republican and North Whidbey resident, previously announced plans to run.

Hennemann said he met Richard Hannold. Hennemann said he believes he can offer a wider breadth of experience than his opponents.

Hennemann served in various capacities in the Air Force for 21 years and earned a master’s of public administration from the University of Oklahoma.

Hennemann said he plans on “raising and spending a good bit” of money to win.

Hannold has said he plans to keep his campaign simple and take a grassroots approach, including going door to door.

“I’m willing to spend the money on the campaign,” Hennemann said. “There’s no point in finishing an election with money in the bank.”

Among his top priorities is ensuring the county has proper funding and resources for public safety.

“I want to make sure that Sheriff Brown has the money he needs to do his job,” Hennemann said.

In addition, he would like to see the county’s expenditure process change from an incremental budget model, where departments are given extra money as needed each year, to a zero-based budget model, where departments must assume that no extra money will be available.

“That has proven a good way to hold down expenses,” Hennemann said. “I want to hold down taxes. There may be a time when we need more taxes, but I don’t see it now. We need to get a lid on what people spend.”

On the subject of controversial Outlying Field Coupeville and the aircraft noise, Hennemann said he would “side with OLF” and those who support the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station.

Still, Hennemann said he would be willing to talk to those who would like to see the airfield closed.

“Even though I live on Camano I would be elected island wide,” Hennemann said.

“I’m certainly willing to meet with those who are opposed to it. I may not agree, but I will listen.”

As Island County deals with the legalization of recreational marijuana, Hennemann said he’d prefer to see the growing and processing operations in industrial areas instead of rural areas.

He said the rural areas may “present problems” and negatively affect neighboring properties.

Emerson has drawn fire from constituents for poor attendance during weekly commissioners’ meetings.

While saying he is not criticizing Emerson, Hennemann said he plans to purchase a boat and travel across the water from Camano to Whidbey to attend all meetings in person.

Born in San Diego, Hennemann grew up in New York State.

In addition to a master’s degree, he said he holds a bachelor’s degree in political science.

A Vietnam-era veteran, he joined the Air Force as an intelligence technician shortly after college graduation. After leaving active duty to complete his education, Hennemann returned to active duty as an intelligence technician.

In addition to completing tours in South Korea, Turkey, Panama and Saudi Arabia, Hennemann also assisted with various tactical operations abroad from bases in South Carolina and Virginia.

Following his retirement from the Air Force, Hennemann worked as a social studies teacher.

Marc and his wife, Irma, moved to Camano Island in 2012. They have two grown children, a shih tzu and a Maine coon cat.

 


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