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Neatherlin, Brown announce Republican candidacies for 35th District House seats

November’s general election just got interesting for the 35th Legislative District.

Democratic incumbents William “Ike” Eickmeyer and Kathy Haigh are being challenged for their respective House seats by Republican candidates Randy Neatherlin and Marco Brown.

Neatherlin, a Belfair resident, last ran for office in 2005 when he was defeated by Independent Tim Sheldon for Mason County’s Board of Commissioners. A used car dealer, Neatherlin describes himself as a committed community member, entrepreneur, property rights advocate and proponent of smaller government.

“If our elected officials were held accountable for the cost of their decisions, state government would shrink overnight,” Neatherlin said.

In Belfair, Neatherlin is chair of the Theler Center, vice chairman of the Cancer Crusaders, vice president of the North Mason Kiwanis, vice president of the North Mason Pee Wees for almost 18 years and serves on the board of directors of the Pacific Northwest Salmon Center and the North Mason Community Voice. He also serves on a trio of North Mason School District committees.

“Leadership is action, not just a position”, said Neatherlin, who has an associate’s degree from Olympic College. “Youth mentoring is essential in our community. When it comes to our children we must walk the walk, not just talk the talk if we want them to succeed.”

Eickmeyer defeated Republican candidate Bob Benze of Silverdale in 2004 with 59 percent of the votes cast in the 35th District which includes all of Mason County and parts of Thurston, Kitsap and Grays Harbor counties. The four-term Democrat chairs the House select committee on Hood Canal and sits on the committees for capital budgets and natural resources, ecology and parks.

In the contest for Position 1, Marco Brown, 59, is a virtually unknown candidate outside of Belfair campaigning on a platform of government accountability.

“Government has failed to recognize that meth labs, high crime rates in our communities, unchecked sex offenders preying on our children, poor water management of the lower Hood Canal, jobs that provide enough earning power to allow a head of household to provide for their family and a substandard education of our children are contributory factors to the decline of our community,” said Brown, who was born in Panama and became a naturalized citizen.

Brown has a bachelor’s degree in industrial arts from Cal State-Long Beach and is a Vietnam veteran, having volunteered to join the Air Force. He is a fire commissioner in Mason County Fire District No. 2, co-chair of the Lower Hood Canal Watershed Coalition and secretary of the North Mason Health Care Committee. He also is a member of Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Belfair.

Haigh, a veterinarian in Shelton and four-term House member, ran unopposed in 2004. She currently is the chair of the House committee of state government operations and accountability and sits on the appropriations and education committees. According to the PDC, she has raised $3,455 toward her campaign.

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