Candidate talks drugs, prosecution | Guest column

Candidate talks drugs, prosecution | Guest column

Submitted by Nick Power.

I’m running for San Juan County Prosecuting Attorney to bring meaningful change to the way the office performs its duties.

I have lived on San Juan Island with my wife Penelope Haskew and our two daughters Chiara and Alison for over 10 years. Penelope is the youth director for San Juan Community Theatre, and Alison and Chiara attend public school. I was first licensed to practice law in 1997 and have a law office in Friday Harbor and represent clients in an extensive range of civil and criminal matters in both state and federal court.

As prosecutor, I will vigorously prosecute those who threaten the well-being of our community. I am appalled at the proliferation of hard drugs like heroin and methamphetamine. It is common knowledge where drugs are being bought and sold and even the identity of the characters that deal, but no significant action is being taken. I am bewildered that the officials have taken such a lackadaisical approach and have turned a blind eye to this problem. I have heard first-hand from adults working in the school system that cocaine is now being used in our high schools. By failing to take action we see the consequences in many other forms: overdoses, domestic violence, child neglect, theft, etc.

While we do need to crack down on drug dealers, I believe we need to take a more therapeutic approach towards minors and non-violent offenders struggling with mental health or addiction. Offenders who are convicted of simply possessing a small amount of contraband should not be incarcerated. Simply because when they get out, they find themselves often homeless and jobless. They go back to using drugs. And the cycle continues. This benefits no one. Many other jurisdictions have created therapeutic courts that pair offenders with rehabilitation specialists to treat addiction as a mental health issue. In the long run, this reduces recidivism, saves taxpayer money and is a better result for all involved. I support the creation of a therapeutic court in San Juan County.

Moreover, you have my word that I will fight the “good ol’ boy” mentality that exists among some in county government. Recently, I believe a deputy sheriff who worked closely with my opponent committed perjury in court. When the truth came out, the deputy fled the community. My opponent refused to prosecute this deputy. I believe that prosecutors have a responsibility to the public and the justice system to charge people who lie under oath. (Editor’s note regarding the above statements: Former county detective Stephen Parker submitted a signed statement under penalty of perjury the Skagit County Sheriff’s Office. The statement was later found to be false.)

This race is about a contrast of ideas and vision. My vision for this office is to provide sound legal counsel to the county, prosecute the most serious crimes which threaten our community, and treat all people equally under the law. If you share that belief, I hope that you will consider voting for me.

If you have a question about this race, call me on my cell at 360-298-0464 or send me an e-mail at nickedpower@gmail.com. I would be honored to have your support.