Gold Stars and Dunce Caps: Hunt, Wilcox and May

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A Dunce Cap goes to Rep. Sam Hunt, D-Olympia, for his attempt to change the number of Thurston County Commissioners from three to five, as he tacked on a last-minute amendment to a House bill.

A Gold Star goes to Rep. JT Wilcox, R-Yelm, who got just a little bit more than miffed.

Wilcox said, “... this is beyond anything I have ever witnessed in Olympia.” Wilcox believes, as does the Nisqually Valley News, that Hunt’s dirty move was a reaction to a recent announcement that former Thurston County Sheriff Gary Edwards is running for the soon-to-be vacant seat of Commissioner Sandra Romero. If Edwards wins the seat, it means for the first time in years Thurston County would have a majority of those who lean conservative.

There is a process to change the form of county government — it involves a charter government and freeholders election, with much public debate and the opportunity for the citizens to vote. 

It does make sense to increase the number of county commissioners and have them be citizen representatives, with an appointed or elected county administrator. A change in government could also call for some elected officials — an auditor, for example — to be appointed and not part of partisan politics.

A Dunce Cap also goes to longtime Republican stalwart Ted May, who had hoped to be appointed to fill Graham Hunt’s seat in the Legislature after Hunt resigned due to conflicts in his stated military service. May, of Lake Saint Clair, was one of several people hoping to get the appointment. He did not make the top three as voted on by Precinct Committee Officers from the 2nd Legislative District. Eventually Andrew Barkis was appointed the new 2nd District representative. In a letter to the editor, May cried sour grapes when the top pick from the PCOs was not chosen. He used the words “dismayed” and “affronted” and calls Barkis “less than the best choice.” We do remember in an interview before the selection that May said all of those running were qualified. In addition, the final vote by the Thurston County Commissioners and Pierce County Council was 9-1 in favor of Barkis. We also believe he will be a great representative for the 2nd District. Another positive is that Barkis lives in Thurston County, while Wilcox and Sen. Randi Becker both live in Pierce County, which adds balance to the district.

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