By Bob Smith
Kitsap News Group
PORT ORCHARD — Two challengers have filed to run against incumbents for seats on the Port Orchard City Council.
Jay Rosapepe, director of Transportation for the South Kitsap School District, announced May 8 that he will file to run for the council’s at-large seat. Clancy Donlin is the incumbent at-large council member. Donlin has not yet indicated whether he will run for re-election.
On May 9, community organizer Maureen Wheeler announced she’ll also challenge for an incumbent’s seat on the council. Wheeler will take on incumbent Fred Chang for the Position 6 seat, should he decide to run again for a four-year term.
Rosapepe, who is a longtime South Kitsap resident, has been a member of the school district’s board of directors. He also has been active volunteering for a number of community events and organizations, including the Jingle Bell Run, South Kitsap School Supporters and Stuff the Bus annual food drive. The candidate also is a member of the South Kitsap Rotary.
Rosapepe is a retired 20-year Navy veteran and has held management positions with Pierce Transit, Mason Transit, Boeing, Starbucks and the U.S. Navy.
Married with two daughters and three grandchildren, the candidate has a bachelor’s degree in business and finance from Mount St. Mary’s College and a master’s degree in petroleum management from the University of Kansas.
“I’ve spent years working in Port Orchard and South Kitsap,” Rosapepe said, “and believe there is much that remains to be done.
“Our city has so much promise, and we have the opportunity to create even more economic opportunity and jobs here in Port Orchard.”
The challenger said he classifies himself as a fiscal conservative. He said that with thoughtful planning and encouragement to current and new businesses, “we can begin the renovation that will re-energize our city.”
Rosapepe also is advocating for additional enhancements to the city’s parks and was a supporter of Port Orchard’s move to code city status. He said he plans to bring a new perspective to the council while working collaboratively with other members, the mayor and civic leaders.
Wheeler, the Position 6 candidate, also is a longtime South Kitsap resident with an extensive record as a city volunteer. She served as a public safety officer with the Port Orchard police department until 2013 and helped organize the city’s first National Night Out project.
With more than 25 years in law enforcement and public safety, Wheeler serves as a female inmate mentor as well as a volunteer with Young Lives, a program to assist teen mothers.
The challenger also is a lieutenant for the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, where she manages and supports enforcement operations.
“I’m confident that I can provide valuable insight and expertise as a member of our City Council that will build on our successes for generations to come,” she said.
Wheeler has three adult children and lives in the Eagle Crest community.
While serving with the city’s police department, she coordinated numerous community projects to encourage engagement in public safety, she said, including a neighborhood watch program in The Ridge community, youth and senior citizen groups, Boy Scouts, and elementary, middle and high school presentations on texting/sexting and cyber-bullying.
“Our first duty as a city is to protect our citizens and provide for a safe community,” Wheeler said in a news release announcing her candidacy.