The proof is in the primary. Republican Jill Johnson, an Oak Harbor native, deserves to represent District 2 on the Island County Board of Commissioners. She won the primary election, even though the conservative vote was split with another strong Republican challenger and an independent candidate who espoused conservative views. Only voters in her district, which is essentially Oak Harbor, could take part in the primary, though the general election will be countywide.
Oak Harbor residents deserve a voice that represents them, which is exactly what Johnson will do. Currently the director of the Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce, Johnson is smart and articulate. She would be a welcome and moderate voice on the board. Most importantly, she has a rich knowledge and a passion for the community she grew up in. She will represent Oak Harbor and the entire county fairly.
Incumbent Island County Commissioner Angie Homola, a Democrat, came in second in the primary election.
After nearly four years in office, less than a third of the voters in her home district felt she represented them well enough to deserve to be re-elected. She works hard and isn’t afraid to say what she believes, but unfortunately she is unflinching in her opinions about taxes, planning and law enforcement and other issues that are contrary to her constituents’ beliefs.
The other commissioner race is a different story. Incumbent Democratic Commissioner Helen Price Johnson is well loved by the majority in her District 1 community. An amazing 55 percent of primary voters in the district cast ballots in her favor, even with four challengers who included fellow moderate Curt Gordon. It’s telling that Gordon, a well-known South Whidbey resident and port commissioner, endorsed her in the race. She has lived a lifetime on South Whidbey and understands firsthand the challenges of small business owners and developers.
Republican challenger Jeff Lauderdale is a serious candidate with some good ideas, but he doesn’t have the experience in local government or the knowledge of the community necessary to be effective. His budget-cutting message may have resonated four years ago, but there isn’t much left to pare away these days.