County council is a political office | Letter

Thank you to those of you who have raised the question as to political parties endorsing in nonpartisan races; a letter on this topic by Justin Paulsen appeared in the newspaper last week (https://www.islandssounder.com/letters/local-election-is-not-about-political-division-letter/).

I can only speak for the county Democrats, of which I am chair, but I can tell you that we thought long and hard about this. Part of the purpose of political parties is to advise their members about candidates, but that doesn’t necessarily turn the races partisan. If you were to examine the questions we asked candidates, they have nothing to do with partisan political issues. Instead, they are questions related to what is best for the county. For instance, we asked about affordable housing and vacation rentals, growth versus sustainability, tourism and diversifying the economy and mental health services. Etymologically politics is rooted in Polis = affairs of the city or, in this case, county. Therefore County Council is a political office.

As I said, we gave the idea of endorsement serious consideration, and all but one member of our group decided that it is important to endorse and support county-level candidates. It puts running for office in the realm of possibility for regular working people. Political parties exist for the purpose of helping candidates, preferably good ones, get elected. At the county level we can help put together a campaign organization and volunteer base and give a little seed money to pay for ads, signs, mailings and a website. If we choose to endorse, we can provide access to our voter database and candidate training. This year we are pleased to support two very talented county council candidates. We know them well because they are part of our leadership team. We are proud of them and glad they are proud of their service to the County Democratic Party. It is worth noting that although our Republican counterparts did not choose to send a postcard, they did send out an email to their membership endorsing Rick Hughes and Christine Minney. Should our two endorsed candidates, Ryan Palmateer and Cindy Wolf, win election as county councilors, they will be working for the good of the people of this county, not working to serve the local Democratic Party.

David Turnoy

Orcas Island