EDITORIAL: Haugen delivers for her district

Many Whidbey Islanders probably don’t appreciate what an outstanding advocate they have at the capitol in Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen.

The veteran legislator from Camano Island gets things done even when it’s seemingly impossible.

The most recent example is the rural county designation for Island County. This important bill passed the Legislature in the final days of the session last week even though the state is going through one of its worst fiscal crises in decades. The designation lets Island County keep some $400,000 in sales taxes that presently go to the state. At a time when the state is looking for every nickel it can find, it took some pretty fancy maneuvering to get the bill approved by the Senate and then the House. Only someone with Haugen’s experience, connections and determination could have pulled it off.

Once the governor signs the bill, as he has promised he will do, Island County will have some money to devote to infrastructure projects necessary to attract and retain businesses. That translates into more jobs for Island County residents.

After Initiative 695 passed two years ago, Washington State Ferries was hit with a financial crisis, particularly in regard to capital expenditures. The new Clinton ferry dock was only half built and further work was put on hold. But have you been to Clinton lately? The second half of the dock is under construction, thanks again to the influence of Haugen, who chairs the Senate Transportation Commission. Other ferry communities are jealous that Clinton is getting done while their docks are rotting away.

After 20-years in the Legislature, Haugen’s contributions to Island County’s progress are too numerous to list. Suffice to say that in good times and bad, Island County has one of the toughest competitors in Olympia representing our interests.

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