Incumbents earn spot in Island County finals | Editorial

Due to the “top two” primary, there is no longer a guarantee that one Democrat and one Republican will advance to the general election in November. But it would be a shame if voters were to not give incumbent Democrats Angie Homola and Helen Price Johnson a chance to further campaign and try to convince voters they deserve a second term in office.

The two commissioners came to office after disposing of incumbent commissioners in 2008. It was the year of great voter unrest, when they went for an untested African American for U.S. president and swept thousands of incumbents from Congress and state and local offices.

Homola, a Democrat in a highly Republican district, benefitted from that great voter unrest. Price Johnson, a South Whidbey Democrat long active in her community, may have won anyway. Whatever the case, they took their positions in the worst economic times since the Great Depression.

We need not again list all the pain county agencies suffered through the ensuing years. The overall budget was cut some 20 percent, dozens of jobs were lost, and a great debate is now in progress on whether too many sheriff’s deputies and prosecuting attorney jobs were cut. Homola and Price Johnson know this territory well and have kept the budget balanced in the face of immense pressure to spend more or cut elsewhere.

As for their opponents, in Homola’s District 2, which includes the city of Oak Harbor, the choices are small businessman Phil Collier, chamber of commerce executive director Jill Johnson, and city councilman Jim Campbell.

We believe Jill Johnson, a Republican, is the best candidate to face Homola in the general election. She’s conservative, but not to the extreme, and intimately knows the business and political worlds  in Oak Harbor. She’s accustomed to working with difficult people in complex situations, and compromising when necessary. In addition, she’s vigorous and works extremely hard, both necessities to be a good county commissioner.

Price Johnson’s opposition includes independent Curt Gordon, Republican Jeff Lauderdale, Republican Wayne Morrison and independent Ed Jenkins.

Only one of the challengers has a long history of service in District 1, runs his own business, and has a history of being elected, from Parks District commissioner to Port of South Whidbey commissioner. That candidate is Curt Gordon, who for decades has shown that he can lead while working well with others.

A November election with Angie Homola vs. Jill Johnson and Helen Price Johnson vs. Curt Gordon would give voters clear choices among sensible, experienced public servants.

Whatever your opinion, remember to return your election ballot no later than primary election day, Tuesday, Aug. 7.


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