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DeGard challenging for Rockefeller’s House seat

KINGSTON — Paulette DeGard of Kingston wants to represent Kitsap County in Washington State Legislature so she can get to the bottom of economic problems affecting the state today.

To do so, the Republican candidate for Position No. 1 will first have to “86” 23rd District Rep. Phil Rockefeller (D-Bainbridge Island), who currently holds the office.

“It’s not because I think Mr. Rockefeller is doing a bad job,” DeGard said, adding that she believes a new perspective needs to be brought to the floor — one of business sense.

“I’m a business-process person at heart,” DeGard said. “I look to resolve issues at the core rather than problem solving.”

And at the legislative level, she said issues are treated with problem-solving solutions, rather than getting to the bottom of the issues.

DeGard’s platform is primarily based on economic development and education.

“Add to what has been done for job creation and job security,” she said of what she hopes to bring to the legislature and the state economy.

Currently, DeGard is executive director of the Industry Cluster Institute of Silverdale, a non-profit organization she founded that works on economic development in rural communities.

She is spearheading projects on tourism in Kitsap and marine services in Kitsap, Jefferson and Clallam counties.

DeGard supports education, both professionally and personally, as she teaches university classes and also homeschooled her children when they were young.

“Education and preparing for our future work force is very, very important,” DeGard said.

After using her skills in business mediation for 20 years in various sectors, from small business to telecommunications, “this is a new environment which is a state-level rulemaking (environment),” she said.

DeGard started thinking about running for the position last November and said she has been listening to constituents about their needs and issues ever since.

“I’ve been interviewing people around the community in all different sectors to get a collective voice,” DeGard said, noting she’s come across issues such as increasing home health care insurance.

“I’m really, really focused on economic impact because a lot of laws are written with a fiscal realiablity — what is it going to cost the state?” she said, adding that legislation needs to be written economically and how they will affect the residents.

DeGard has been married 24 years to her husband Dan and has two children: a son, Caleb who is serving in the U.S. Coast Guard and a daughter Hannah, who attends Washington State University.

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