Editorial: Wallin has a slight edge

Voters are fortunate to have two outstanding choices in the race for Whidbey Island Public Hospital District commissioner, position 3.

Bert Speir and Ron Wallin come from different backgrounds, but both have a lot to bring to the hospital’s conference room table.

Speir retired as a captain in the Navy Medical Service Corps and was commanding officer of Naval Hospital Oak Harbor from 1993 through 1996. His medical pedigree is long and impressive, including years of volunteer work with the Whidbey General Hospital Foundation.

Wallin has an interesting background in ambulance service on both North and South Whidbey, and in recent years has been the successful owner of a construction firm as well as being an active volunteer in the community.

Both candidates receive warm recommendations of support from other community leaders, citing their likability, sincerity and ability to work with others. Both have the best interests of Whidbey General Hospital at heart and either would make a fine member of the hospital board.

So with two good choices in a non-partisan race, what’s a voter to do? Consider which candidate best represents the most people. Remember, it’s a “public” hospital district, meaning its overseers should be members of the public, not necessarily experts in the field. From this perspective Wallin has the edge due to his decades of service throughout Whidbey Island, his broad circle of friends and business partners, and his proven dedication to his community. As others have pointed out, there are already two physicians on the five-person hospital board. One more would give them a majority, for better or worse.

Because Wallin is a proven community leader and would instantly represent more people, he’s the better choice for the positions. But if it’s Speir who gets elected, there will be no reason to complain.

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