The race for South Kitsap commissioner heated up this week, with the formal rollout of Monty Mahan’s campaign and former commissioner Charlotte Garrido’s expected candidacy announcement.
Garrido, 62, was elected to the post in 1996 but was defeated in the 2000 primary in her bid for a second term.
She won the Democratic primary in 2004 but was defeated by incumbent Jan Angel in the general election.
Garrido said she expects to be a more effective commissioner in her second term.
“I have put my energy into some very ambitious projects during the last few years,” she said. “I have learned a great deal about growth and economic development and will be able to take a more strategic look at the economic health of the county.”
Garrido’s most recent accomplishment was to help secure funding for a study to develop options for a local four-year degree program. “The success of the business community is directly tied into education,” she said.
Mahan, 50, formally declared his candidacy in September. Garrido is the first to challenge him.
Since both are Democrats, their race will be decided in the Aug. 19 primary.
There are currently no announced Republican candidates for the position.
Mahan and Garrido, who insist they are friends, say they will concentrate on their own positive traits rather than directly criticize the other.
“Voters will have a clear choice between the two candidates,” Mahan said. “When we stand side by side they will be able to see the difference. Charlotte operates in a world that is philosophically driven. She is going to spend a lot of time and energy studying a lot of different angles. I am more pragmatic. There is a time and place for decisive action, that’s where I shine.”
Garrido disagrees with this characterization, saying, “I am capable of taking quick action.”
Mahan was scheduled to kick off his campaign on Monday in Port Orchard, and he plans to hold several public events. Garrido has not scheduled her announcement, but expects to host an event in the next few weeks.
Mahan has kept a campaign blog, www.montysview.blogspot.com, where he posts frequent essays about himself and his campaign. It also provides a direct communication link between himself and the voters, something he would maintain if elected.
“The leaders of the community need to be in personal contact with the people,” he said. “If I am commissioner and one of my constituents has a serious problem with a county issue, I will go to their home and discuss it with them. We need to solve problems before they become legal issues.”
Both candidates are long-time residents of Kitsap County. Mahan’s father, Bill Mahan, held the SK commissioner’s seat for 20 years, ending in 1981. Garrido is not a native but has strong local roots.
“I have lived and worked in Kitsap County for 30 years,” she said. “I care about the community and the people who live here.”