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Illahee man throws hat into Senate race

Doug Kitchens wants to form a partnership with the constituents of the 23rd District by taking their concerns, ideas and issues and working on them as their Senator in Olympia.

The Illahee resident announced his candidacy for the Senate position April 9. That seat is being vacated by Sen. Betti Sheldon, who announced her decision to retire from the legislature earlier this year.

“I think I can make a difference,” said Kitchens, a Republican. “I’m frustrated by us doing the same thing over and over again and expecting to get different results.”

While he knows it’s not an easy feat to go into a large body of lawmakers and start changing things, “I can introduce different ideas or new ideas on how to solve the problems,” Kitchens said.

State Rep. Phil Rockefeller (D-Bainbridge Island) also is running for the vacant seat.

Kitchens’ background includes working with small and multi-national businesses. He was involved in the steel trade agreement negotiations with Mexico for 18 months that affected 15 foreign countries. He now is a real estate agent with Reid Realty in Silverdale.

Because he has helped both first-time home buyers and multi-millionaires purchase property, Kitchens said he has helped a wide range of people within the district and wants to put that work and energy into the governing arena.

He feels his budgeting experience, negotiation skills and success as an entrepreneur benefits his role as a leader for the 23rd District.

Kitchens doesn’t have any particular issues he personally would like to pursue. he said he would rather take the ideas and concerns from the voters and work for them, as well as with them, in Olympia.

Taxes, small business owner rules and regulations, environment, growth versus no growth and private property rights are issues he has heard from residents that he would like to work on.

“It all has to do with economic vitality,” Kitchens said, noting an important factor in the economy is keeping all aspects of what makes a community in balance.

“Economic vitality is what drives a community, he said “It’s not completely right now in that aspect.”

He also would like to address affordable health insurance and tort reform.

Kitchens supports the Republican party’s platform, but primarily, he wants to work with residents.

“What I want is a partnership with voters in the district,” he said. “Can I change the system in one fell swoop? I don’t know. But I need the support of the voters in the 23rd District. I’m the messenger.”

The decision to run has been something that has been lingering in the back of his mind for some time.

“I felt for some years I should be more deeply involved in government,” Kitchens explained. “I feel I have the business acumen and skills that make me very, very capable in this job.”

Kitchens has lived Washington for 18 years and in Kitsap County since 1990. He and his wife Barbara have five children and four grandchildren.

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