EDITORIAL: Conard has edge in experience

Tenth Legislative District voters have only one contested race on next Tuesday’s primary ballot, but at least it’s a good one.

On the Democratic ballot, Gina Bull and Nancy Conard are both seeking the Position 1 seat in the State House made available when Barry Sehlin decided not to seek another term. The winner of the Democratic primary will go on to face Republican Chris Strow in the general election. Strow is unopposed in the primary.

Democrats have two outstanding candidates to choose from in Conard and Bull.

Conard is the retired business manager for the Coupeville School District and is presently serving her third term as the elected mayor of Coupeville.

Bull is dean of students at an Oak Harbor middle school, is active in union and school affairs and she and her family are deeply involved in community and Navy activities. If any Democrat could ever win a majority of votes in Oak Harbor, it’s Gina Bull.

Bull is dedicated, she’s an extremely hard worker, and she knows Olympia, having represented union issues there many times, and her father is an influential member of the House. She would instantly feel comfortable in the capitol’s marble halls.

Conard also has much experience in Olympia, representing her town in land use issues and working closely with another Democrat, Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, on various ways to improve Whidbey Island.

While both candidates are outstanding, the edge in experience goes to Conard. Her time as mayor of a small town has given her intimate experience with the nuts and bolts things that are important to islanders — good streets and roads, plentiful open space, quality sewer systems, and the need for more state funding to pay for all those mandates.

On education, Conard’s experience is invaluable. She represented the school district in negotiations with the unions, so she knows both sides of the issues. She’s balanced many budgets, for both the school district and the town, and she knows how critically important this is. Bull, as a long-time union representative, might lack the objectivity that Conard can bring to educational issues.

Overall, Conard looks like the best candidate, but Bull too would make a fine state representative for Democrats.

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