Ed Wolfe retired as a Kitsap County commissioner at the end of 2022 after eight years in office.
In a farewell message, he said it was a highlight of his career and more rewarding than he thought it would be. He said a send-off party county staff threw for him Dec. 7 was especially bittersweet and emotional.
Wolfe said he has been surrounded by excellent staff, elected officials and other county leaders.
“As commissioner, I focused on finding ways to make Kitsap stronger, healthier and safer by bringing people to the table for discussions needed to kickstart collaborations. I sought to balance measured growth with protecting the natural environment; stretch investments through community partnerships; leverage financing options; and protect property rights while improving access to public lands.”
His favorite part of the job was meeting hundreds of constituents of all ages.
“I truly appreciate people sharing their concerns, ideas and viewpoints, their stories and hardships, accomplishments and dreams. I always felt that strong communities are not created by government – instead they are built through the dedication of committed individuals and organizations who work together. I marvel at your resilience and willingness to step up and join in, to volunteer your valuable time for the common good.”
Wolfe says he’s proud of transportation projects in Central Kitsap that improve the safety, accessibility and connectivity of roadways, including construction of the Bucklin Hill Bridge, the widening of Silverdale Way and upgrades to Bayshore Drive. Construction of a new Silverdale transit station will make it easier for more people to access public transportation.
He also points out that county commissioners created the Homelessness Encampment Action and Response Transition (HEART) Team. “We also celebrated the opening of Pendleton Place, the county’s first permanent supportive housing that provides a way out of homelessness toward long-term housing.”
He also gave a shout-out to veterans and the miltary, which contribute so much to the county. He will continue to advocate for them, including the opening of a new veterans clinic in Silverdale. “Veterans help veterans, continuing to serve our communities long after their military service has concluded,” he says.
He called the county’s response to COVID “extraordinary,” with hundreds of volunteers giving countless hours. He’s glad $53 million in federal relief funds will ease the burdens of those most impacted.
Some favorite memories include rappelling off both the Norm Dicks Government Center and Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue’s training tower; acting as a hostage in a SWAT training exercise; and falling out of his kayak into a chilly Dyes Inlet as the marine unit practiced water rescue.
He said he’s proud of the budget process, as there are reserves, and they’ve implemented efficiencies to improve services. He thanked the Central Kitsap Community Council for providing a forum for community discussions. And he enjoyed recording his Commissioner’s Corner BKAT programs and getting to know the work of county departments.
Wolfe said he’s proud of what he accomplished with fellow Commissioners Rob Gelder and Charlotte Garrido. He also thanked those on the many boards he served. Wolfe said he still will be at the courthouse now and then as a judge pro tem.
“Saving the best for last, I want to thank my wife, Wendy, for her support and positivity as we navigate our lives around my work calendar. I look forward to a lighter schedule in the years ahead and spending more time with our new grandkids.
“As I leave office, I know the county is in good hands. It has been the honor of my lifetime to serve you.”