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Fourth candidate enters race for Island County commissioner
Camano Island resident Kelly Bagley is the third Republican to file for candidacy in the Island County Commissioner District 3 race later this year.
One Democrat has also filed to run.
The candidates say their desire to run for the seat is fueled by a desire to do things differently than the current leadership.
Bagley, a quality assurance technician for Amazon, said he was encouraged by a few Camano precinct committee officers to run. Bagley said he is interested in how the county is planning for future growth, infrastructure needs and water availability.
Bagley managed a federal smoking cessation program and has served as a missionary in Africa 1990-92 and 1993-97. He settled on Camano in 1997.
After watching a recent county commission meeting online, Bagley said he was surprised when Commissioner Kelly Emerson, District 3’s current representative, made no comments.
“I think you’d have something to say,” Bagley said. “I’ll make sure I’ll have something to say.”
Emerson was criticized over the past year for missing meetings or excusing herself early. In some cases, problems stemmed from a poor connection by phone or teleconferencing.
Emerson’s attendance in the new year has been better, and an updated teleconferencing system installed on Camano has made it easier for her to be involved.
During an interview Thursday, Emerson said she received no complaints from constituents regarding a lack of involvement in her job.
Emerson said she is familiar with all three Republican candidates, but has no comment on who she supports.
Democratic candidate Karla Jacks said Thursday that she believes that Emerson’s performance is “a huge issue” and has heightened interest in the election.
Camano Republican Marc Hennemann said during a recent interview that, if elected, he intends to purchase a boat so he can attend each meeting in person.
“I’m not criticizing Kelly,” Hennemann said. “That’s just the way she does it.”
North Whidbey Republican Richard Hannold said Friday that while he doesn’t take issue with any one commissioner, it is his desire to bring some “common sense and civility” to county commission meetings.
“There’s an awful lot of arguing,” Hannold said.
Hannold said he is hopeful that all of the candidates are coming to the table because they are interested in serving the community.
Jacks said she agrees that giving the public options is good for the electoral process.
Emerson’s seat is the only county commission seat up for reelection this year.
The District 1 and 2 seats held, respectively, by commissioners Helen Price Johnson and Jill Johnson, are not up for reelection until 2016.