United Way chief to run for treasurer

Barbara Stephenson of Poulsbo, the executive director of the United Way of Kitsap County for 11 years, last week announced that she will run for county treasurer this fall.

Stephenson, who will run as a Democrat, became familiar with county government while serving on the Board of Freeholders in 2001.

The elected board wrote a new county charter, which was rejected by voters in a February special election.

“Through the charter process, I learned a lot about county government,” Stephenson said. “One goal I would have as treasurer would be to help people understand where their tax dollars are being spent ... and build on the fantastic foundation that is already in place.”

Current Treasurer Sharon Shrader, also a Democrat, is retiring after 18 years in office.

Before retiring, Shrader said she hopes to help develop the county’s Land Information System, an electronic property database that would be shared by and available to other county departments, from the assessor’s office to emergency services agencies.

The treasurer is the chief fiduciary agent for Kitsap County and the ex-officio treasurer for all of the junior taxing districts within the county.

Stephenson said her history of public service in the private sector and for the United Way qualifies her for the office.

Stephenson, 49, worked for Rainier Bank and Security Pacific Bank for 14 years, managing branches in Poulsbo and in Seattle for seven years. Stephenson was named Branch Manager of the Year in 1987.

She was appointed executive director of the United Way of Kitsap in 1991. The agency raises funds for 30 local health and human service agencies. During Stephenson’s tenure at the United Way, local community donations increased by 68 percent without an increase in staff.

Stephenson is also a past president of the Greater Poulsbo Chamber of Commerce and earned its “Person of the Year” award in 1990.

She served 11 years on the Olympic College Board of Trustees. Stephenson is the president of the Poulsbo-North Kitsap Rotary Club and is vice chairwoman of the Washington Commission for National and Community Service, appointed by Gov. Gary Locke. The commission administers Americorps grants and other programs.

Stephenson lives in Poulsbo with her husband John, a civil engineer. The couple have three married daughters and four grandchildren.

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