The North Kitsap Herald endorses the following candidates in the Nov. 7 general election.
Mayor of Poulsbo: Becky Erickson. No question, Erickson is the better and more qualified candidate. She had the business acumen needed the leading the city during, and out of, the Great Recession. She’s recognizes and embraces the growing diversity of Poulsbo’s population, and has reached out to establish relationships and let all people know they are welcome here and should never fear calling for help. She’s actively promoted the city and recruited businesses here. She’s worked for a healthier Liberty Bay. She’s improved response to mental health crises in the city. She clearly loves the job.
She had her share of stumbles in her current term, particularly regarding management of the police department, but she did a masterful job of ensuring leadership continuity during the department’s transition. She further redeemed herself with the hiring of Police Chief Dan Schoonmaker.
The mayor of Poulsbo is the city’s chief executive officer, responsible for more than 90 employees, a budget of $31 million and public assets valued at $158 million. Erickson, by far, has the qualifications and experience to do the job. We encourage voters to give her a third term.
Poulsbo City Council, Position 7: Abby Garland. She’s a registered write-in candidate. But she still must receive more votes than John R. Bukowsky, whose name is on the ballot but withdrew his candidacy. If Bukowsky gets more votes, the position will be considered vacant and the City Council will have to appoint someone to the position. If Garland receives more write-in votes, she wins the position and takes office Jan. 1.
Garland will bring a fresh perspective to the City Council. She’s a wife and mom of three, and has a master’s degree in post-secondary education from Johnson and Wales University. “Families in Poulsbo need someone on [the] City Council that understands the challenges of raising a family today,” she said in a Herald Q&A. Her priorities include developing for parking for Front Street, luring more childcare here for working families, developing new ways to engage residents, and paying attention to affordability issues.
Garland stepped forward when there was a need — in this case, for a new City Council member. We believe she deserves a chance. Write-in Abby Garland, Poulsbo City Council Position 7.
North Kitsap School Board: Richard (Rick) Eckert, District 1; Richard (Dick) Lockwood, District 3. The school board needs change. The previous superintendent, Dr. Patty Page, still takes some knocks from the community for failures during her superintendency, and that’s not entirely fair. The ultimate responsibility belongs to the school board — for the delayed parental notifications, for the hard feelings that the teachers union felt toward the superintendent. The superintendent directs the teachers and staff, but the school board is supposed to direct and guide and coach the superintendent.
Eckert and Lockwood will take a conservative approach to budget planning, put a sense of urgency in the district communications policy, work with the superintendent to help the district reach its graduation-rate goals, work to develop vocational and technical training opportunities for students who are not college bound, and work to bolster support for special education and arts education.
We encourage residents to vote for Eckert and Lockwood for North Kitsap School Board.