Mayors race | Letter

With all the talk about the election coming this fall, I must point out that an important election season is already upon us! I’m talking about the Orcas Mayor’s Race, sponsored by the strictly non-partisan families of Orcas Island Children’s House.

Now historic, the animal-oriented Orcas fundraiser was begun in 2009, inspired by the first election of an animal for mayor in 1998 in Rabbit Hash, Kentucky. Like Eastsound, an unincorporated city, Rabbit Hash developed the election as a bit of fun and a way to raise funds for the restoration of the historic general store building.Their first mayor was an adopted dog named Goofy.

Our election also funds something historic: Children’s House is half a century old, begun as a playgroup back when Orcas was quite rural by a group of moms who worried that their children spent more time interacting with animals than people. So getting beloved animals to help fund the preschool is entirely in keeping with the school’s beginnings.

And what wonderful mayors we’ve had! Our first doggie mayor, Dakota, weighed 200 pounds, spent three years as a mascot for the Orcas High school football team and helped teach young children through demonstration the best way to brush their teeth. Dakota was chosen from the first field of candidates including 3 dogs, Eggitha, a Barred Rock rooster and April, the island-raised cow of Eastsound. April had to wait until 2011 to be elected mayor and described herself during her election as the “cream of the crop.” She said “two percent is good enough for milk, but not for women in politics.” The housing development named April’s Grove is in memory of this beloved cow who lived in the pasture beside North Beach Road adjacent to the development.

Besides the 8 wonderful dogs and April the cow, Orcas Islanders have elected Granny, the Orca and Tinker, the bunny. Last year, in a close and exciting election Noni, who ran under the slogan “Pick a Wiener,” became our new mayor. After Noni passed away at age 16, Luna, last year’s first runner up, assumed Noni’s duties and has agreed to run again this year.

Due to the pandemic, this year’s race has gone entirely online, but it’s still exciting to read about and see pictures of the great candidates and cast your vote to support the work of educating Orcas Island’s youngest learners. Rainbow, a 6-month-old Spangled Hamburg rooster encourages you to “Cock-a-doodle-do” the right thing; 3-year-old Marley loves people and is well known in Eastsound; Butters, a friendly, funny 7-year-old Frenchie says “Vote Butters and anything is paw-sible;” Our incumbent mayor, Luna, says it all with the slogan “Luna, your mayor for Ruff times;” and last, but by no means least is Lolita, born in the Salish Sea and running with the slogan “An Orca for Orcas Island!”

When I asked my 4-year-old grandson who he was voting for in the mayor’s race he answered “I’m voting for the chicken.” When I asked him why he said “because it’s running for mayor.” When I pressed further he said, “I like the noise of them, they chase you sometimes and I love eating their eggs cooked flat.”

So it’s not that complicated. All the candidates have equally impressive qualities and they all deserve our votes. Funding our preschools is always a challenge, but in this time of extended school closures, an unknown future and complicated criteria for safety and meeting the needs of families, funding operations has become an urgent need.

Please vote by going to . And remember our unique campaign slogan: Vote Now and Vote Often!

Deborah Helsell

OICH board member