McEntire would quit his day job

Jim McEntire will resign as Port of Port Angeles commissioner should he be elected to replace Rep. Lynn Kessler for the 24th District seat.

McEntire announced his decision to the Sequim Gazette over the phone Thursday afternoon while he walked his collie near his Sequim home.

"Even though it's legally permissible for me to retain the office I was elected to, I don't think it's wise because I'll be serving the needs of all the citizens of the 24th Legislative District, not just the citizens of my port district," he said.

When the Legislature is not in session, he'll spend his time traveling around the 24th District talking with constituents, he said.

McEntire was elected to the port commission in 2007.

Listened to wife

One of McEntire's opponents, Clallam County Commissioner Steve Tharinger, said last week he will retain his position if elected.

McEntire, who is running as a Republican, said his wife had a say in the decision.

"She's made her wishes pretty clear, which is, 'Choose, McEntire. You can do one or the other, not both,' because she sees how hard I work," he said.

A former Coast Guard captain who served 32 years in the service and another six in the U.S. Department of Transportation Budget Office, McEntire said he has tried to retire twice and failed miserably both times.

Life of service

"Public service is what I've done ever since I was 18 years old," he said, adding he sees Kessler's soon-to-be-vacated seat as another opportunity to serve.

McEntire's platform revolves around fiscal conservatism. He describes himself as a "Jim McEntire conservative," drawing from U.S. Sen. Scott Brown's own self-description.

"We've got to change how we look at the state budget," he said.

"We have to learn to live within our means just like every one of our citizens do."

Public priorities

McEntire said education, law and justice, transportation, public safety and sensible environmental regulations would be his top budget priorities.

"We figure out how those things should operate, fund them, and everything else is on the table," he said.

McEntire said he would work to get legislation passed, not just discussed.

"You can talk all you want to but, unless you get the votes, you can't do anything," he said.

McEntire said the state government should pay more attention to basic infrastructure and tending to economic development.

Foster enterprise

"You need to have a way for the state government to foster private enterprise," he said.

Taxes and state spending also need to be addressed as the state budget continues to experience deficits stemming from the recession, he said.

"All we got to do is look two states down and see where we'll end up if we continue on this path," he said, referring to California's chronic double-digit billion dollar budget deficits.

Democrat Jack Dwyer of Montesano and Republican Larry Carter of Port Ludlow also have announced that they are competing for Kessler's seat

Reach Amanda Winters at

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