Editorial: Keep Shelton as commissioner

Mike Shelton deserves a fourth term as Island County Commissioner from District 1.

The Langley Republican has long been Island County’s best commissioner — the one everyone depends on to do the right thing in any situation. Although conservative by nature he’s no ideologue, and he realizes the importance of the whole range of county services, from law enforcement to parks, planning and public health.

Recent years have been painful for county government as revenue sources have dried up due to initiatives approved by voters. The motor vehicle tax receipts virtually disappeared, and a tight lid was placed on property tax increases. Shelton was a leader in guiding the county through these difficult times with the Sheriff’s Department intact and painful cuts kept a minimum. Tough times are still with us, but Shelton knows the budget well enough get us the most for our money.

Shelton has a quality opponent in Langley Democrat Dean Enell, a retired engineer active in the island’s environmental movement. The incumbent wasn’t helped last week when two retired Oak Harbor politicians tried to make it look like Enell would like to see Whidbey Island Naval Air Station closed. The effort was wrong and unfair, and may have created some sympathy votes for Enell rather than helping Shelton.

Despite such lame attempts at assistance, Shelton is still the best man for the job. With the budget still shaky and human needs growing, we need Shelton’s experience in county government.

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