Opinion

GOP wins political point

Chalk up one point for the Republicans in their continuing and so far fruitless battle to unseat Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island.

The Republicans raised a stink when the influential state senator opened an office earlier this month in Oak Harbor.

One has to admire Haugen’s courage. Planting the Democratic flag in heavily-Republican Oak Harbor is like Custer trying to claim the Little Big Horn or George Bush trying to take over Baghdad. It may have seemed like a good idea at the time, but they were asking for trouble.

The fact that Haugen opened her office in the home territory of her formidable Republican challenger, Linda Haddon, doubly ruffled Republican feathers, so the state party leadership wasted no time in issuing a news release claiming Haugen is using taxpayers’ money to open a political office.

From the average citizen’s point of view, the timing does look suspicious. In her decades in the Legislature, Haugen has never before opened an office in Oak Harbor. Few voters believe in political coincidences, so most probably think that politics were involved in the decision.

Haugen counters that Oak Harbor is the population center of the 10th Legislative District, but many miles away from where she works in Olympia. Having an office in Oak Harbor better serves her constituents, giving them personal access to the senator’s aide, Oak Harbor resident Gina Bull.

The senator couldn’t have found a better representative. Bull is from one of Oak Harbor’s leading families and has extensive experience in local and state politics. She can indeed make Oak Harbor citizens feel better represented in Olympia, and that their voices are finally being heard. In addition, Haugen correctly points out that many senators and representatives have offices in their home districts.

Overall, it’s good that the powerful chairwoman of the Senate Transportation Committee has an office and able representative in Oak Harbor. But it’s understandable why the Republicans are complaining.

As we said, the political point goes to the Republicans. But the new office is a plus for Oak Harbor residents, Republican and Democrat alike.

A great American day

A lot of military people on North Whidbey Island are so busy they miss the local flavor of the place, but if there’s one “don’t miss” activity on Whidbey Island, it’s happening Saturday.

Bring the spouse and kids to the Coupeville Memorial Day Parade May 21. Stake out some territory on Main Street or Front Street and watch a treasured piece of Americana wend its way past.

Working with veterans’ groups and Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, the parade organizers put all they’ve got into making their event a unique tribute to the men and women who keep our nation free. Navy jets fly over, veterans and active military march or ride through town, flags fly, people cheer and clap, and it’s all topped off by inspirational speeches and music in Town Park, complete with free hot dogs and ice cream.

If you’re non-military, here’s your chance to pay your respects to veterans of World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Iraq War, and various lesser-known battles.

If you’re military, here’s a real morale reinforcer. The parade shows that Americans do appreciate your efforts and admire your sacrifices, no matter the political differences that may divide them.

The Coupeville Memorial Day Parade begins at 11 a.m. It’s the perfect way to begin the three-day weekend that officially starts the summer season.

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