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Legislators: Kitsap ‘made out like bandits’

PORT ORCHARD — Kitsap County reaped myriad benefits during this year’s legislative session, one which several participants called the most productive of their careers.

These statements came from veteran legislators Rep. Pat Lantz (D-Gig Harbor) and Sen. Phil Rockefeller (D-Bainbridge Island) at a dinner sponsored by the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council (KRCC) attended by both legislators and elected county officials.

“It was an excellent gathering,” said KRCC executive director Mary McClure of the event last Thursday at Mary Mac’s Restaurant. “Over the last few years we’ve tried to develop the relationship between local and state legislators, to make sure they understand the local issues. Most state legislators have never served in local government.”

KRCC has sponsored similar meetings in one form or another, according to McClure. This year it offered a pre-session strategy meeting and last week’s summary.

Even with some disappointments, the favorable allocation during this year’s session prompted Rep. William Eickmeyer (D-Belfair) to say “we made out like bandits.”

Eickmeyer was referring to money intended for transportation, but the county also benefited from allocations in mental health, clean water and criminal justice.

“I promised that I would pass legislation that helped finance the criminal justice system,” Lantz saids, “And guess what? I delivered.”

Along with Eickmeyer, Lantz and Rockefeller, the dinner also was attended by Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-Gig Harbor) and Rep. Sherry Appleton (D-Poulsbo).

Attending from the county were the entire board of commissioners along with mayors and councillors from Poulsbo, Port Orchard and Bainbridge Island. Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman was the only local mayor not in attendance, due to another commitment.

Two of the legislators, Kilmer and Appleton, were rookies. Appleton said she could not have imagined a harder job than her previous position as a lobbyist before she entered the legislature.

“It was the most exhilarating, fatiguing experience of my life,” Appleton said of the session.

Appleton and Eickmeyer, who sit next to each other in the House chamber, teased each other about their personal habits. Eickmeyer

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