House Dems visit Sequim

The election season is under way.

Candidates are beginning to make their rounds in the community.

Washington Reps. Kevin Van De Wege, D-Sequim, and Lynn Kessler, D-Hoquiam, came to Sequim June 11 and spoke to the Clallam County Democratic Club at Pioneer Memorial Park about the recent legislative session and discussed future actions, should they be re-elected.

Challenging Van De Wege and Kessler are Republicans Thomas Thomas, of Joyce, and Randy Dutton, of Montesano, respectively.

Joining the Democrats at the park was Independent candidate for Washington State Court of Appeals Division II, incumbent Judge J. Robin Hunt. Tim Ford, state assistant attorney general for government accountability, is challenging Hunt for her spot at the appellant bench.

All candidates finished filing for office the first week of June. Now they’ve begun campaigning in anticipation of mail-in primary ballots heading to the post office by Aug. 1 statewide.

“The law states ballots need to be sent out at least 18 days before the election, but we send ours out 20 days prior, so primary ballots will be sent July 30,” said Clallam County Auditor Patty Rosand, indicating the ballots would need to be postmarked by Aug. 19 to be counted.

The state has two new election practices for 2008. Primary ballots will be tabulated in a top-two style. For positions with multiple candidates, the top two vote winners will move forward to the general election, regardless of party affiliation. Also, the state will publish a voters pamphlet for the primary for the first time. Rosand will post an online pamphlet at www. as well.


Kessler and Van De Wege are campaigning on a foundation of their voting records, often discussing future work for District 24, which includes Clallam, Jefferson and Grays Harbor counties.

However, challengers Thomas and Dutton have plans of their own for the House of Representative seats.

“Unlike my opponent, I am able to dedicate a full measure of my time and energy to the task of representing the district,” a semi-retired Thomas said of Van De Wege, who is a career firefighter and paramedic in Sequim. “I will work hard to lower taxes and help to make health care affordable for everyone.”

Thomas and his wife own and operate Straitbroadband Communications in Port Angeles.

Van De Wege defers to Kessler on health care, supporting her efforts. Instead, Van De Wege said he will focus on peninsula transportation issues and how he can bring work in his legislative committees back to the area.

Van De Wege sits on four committees, the Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government and Audit Review, Technology Energy and Communications Committee, the Joint Committee on Veterans’ and Military

Affairs and he is vice chairman of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.

“The Neah Bay rescue tug is getting summer funding for the first time this year, which is something I’m going to work on making permanent to keep our waterway safer, since it’s the entrance to the sound,” Van De Wege said. “I want to continue pushing for natural resource issues that can help this area, like helping pulp mills generate their own electricity by utilizing presently wasted biomass and helping local farms by promoting the Local Farms and Healthy Kids legislation.”

Dutton’s concentration will be to encourage high-technology infrastructure on the peninsula, fiscal discipline and increasing the availability of alternative and traditional energy production.

Dutton is vice president of FPM Inc., a Detroit-based packaging company, and a retired Navy commander.

“The mandatory inclusion of ethanol in our fuel is just one example of a policy that, while well-meaning, is having disastrous consequences,” Dutton said, indicating he is in support of the federal government allowing drilling for domestic oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. “Without increased fuel supplies we will have increased inflation and a loss of transportation dependent jobs.”

Dutton said the peninsula also can become a world leader in wind and wave

energy production.

Kessler’s goals in her ninth term are to continue pursuing health care for all children, maintaining a balanced budget with money in reserves and creating open government legislation.

“It is immoral to leave a child without health care, even if their parents come from a different country,” said Kessler, House majority leader. “Also, I’m trying to get government bodies to audio record their executive sessions so if there is a legal challenge, the judge will be able to justly come to a decision about something that is happening behind closed doors.”

For more information on the state’s election process, a list of candidates and an election calendar, visit the Secretary of State’s Web page at To learn more about candidate Randy Dutton, visit www. Information on Rep. Kevin Van De Wege, including a voting record and a biography, is available at The same information is available for Rep. Lynn Kessler at

The Clallam County Bar Association is holding a judicial forum for Washington State Court of Appeals Division II candidates Judge J. Robin Hunt and Tim Ford. The public is invited to the 2 p.m., Friday, June 20, event in the Port Angeles City Council Chambers, 321 E. Fifth St., Port Angeles.

The 2008 election’s important dates, mostly taken from, include:

• July 3 – Last day to file petition signatures for initiatives to the people.

• July 19 – Last day for mail-in and online voter registrations and transfers for the Aug. 19 primary.

• July 30 – Clallam County sends mail-in ballots to registered voters.

• Aug. 19 – State primary.

• Sept. 3 – County canvassing board to certify Aug. 19 primary results.

• Oct. 4 – Last day for mail-in and online voter registrations and transfers for Nov. 4 general election.

• Oct. 20 – Last day for in-person registration for voters not registered in Washington state for the Nov. 4 general election.

• Nov. 4 – General election.

• Nov. 25 – County canvassing board certifies Nov. 4 results.

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