Let's close out 2007 with political awards

By Bob Roegner, Inside Politics

Well another year has come and gone.

As always, politics provided a reminder of how important our democracy is while at the same time providing entertainment for those with an offbeat sense of humor.

We can’t close out 2007 without acknowledging some political awards.

The “Where Did My Friends Go?” award goes to unsuccessful Democratic candidate for prosecuting attorney, Dan Sherman. He watched as Democratic heavyweights Sen. Adam Kline and attorney Jenny Durkin, along with others, supported appointed Republican incumbent Dan Satterberg while Democratic County Executive Ron Sims remained neutral.

The “I’ve Got a Secret” award goes to King County Council member Jane Hague, who kept her DUI arrest a secret through filing week and only picked up token opposition on her way to re-election.

The “Oops, We Sure Fumbled That One” award goes to King County Democrats for not fielding a good candidate who could have likely put Hague’s council position in the Democrats’ column.

The “I’m Job Hunting” award goes to defeated former Republican State Rep. Toby Nixon, who successfully obtained voter support for making the Elections Director position elected rather than appointed.

The “Can We Have a Recount?” award goes to Auburn Mayor Pete Lewis, who saw his nemesis, former council member Virginia Haugen, re-elected to the city council.

The “Public Can Apparently Spell” award goes to Jim Nobles, who assumed they couldn’t when he filed against Democratic incumbent Scott Noble for assessor. Noble retained his seat in a landslide.

The “Keeping It in the Family” award goes to Redmond Mayor-elect John Marchione, who will assume the position his mother held for two terms back in the 1980s.

The “Are You Sure That Was a Good Idea?” award goes to Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler, who took on the insurance companies in Referendum 67. Kreidler is up for election in 2008, and the insurance companies will want payback, so he also qualifies for the “political courage” award.

The “What Have You Done for Me Lately?” award goes to the voters in Renton who turned out incumbent Mayor Kathy Keolker after one term despite her two decades of outstanding service on the city council. A co-winner is the King County Department of Elections that has run several good elections, but still saw Initiative 25 pass to change their department’s leadership to an elected position.

The “Perseverance” award goes to Democratic State Sen. Tracey Eide for delivering to voters the initiative on simple majority for schools.

And the “What Have I Gotten Myself Into?” award will be shared by new Federal Way School Board members Amye Bronson-Doherty and Suzanne Smith, new Federal Way City Council member Dini Duclos, and current city manager Neal Beets.

The first three all won their elections, but will now find governing a lot more challenging than it looks to be from the outside.

Beets shares the award as no one mentioned when he signed his employment contract that there were folks in town who might want to change the form of government, and therefore, his job.

The “Good Government” award goes to the Federal Way Mirror for showing a lot of leadership in deciding to actually endorse candidates. That may not have been as easy of a decision as you think, but it was the right decision. Many other suburban newspapers decided to stay out of decisions that affect their communities.

And lastly, the “Thanks for Your Hard Work” award goes to former city council member Dean McColgan, former South King Fire and Rescue commissioner Gary Bollinger, and former school board members Charlie Hoff and Evelyn Castellar, who all have left public office with this past election.

Each in their own way made a difference in our community and has earned the respect and admiration that comes with the sacrifices one makes to serve the public interest.

Our thanks to all of you.

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner, a former mayor of Auburn, can be reached at bjroegner@comcast.net.

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