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Former U.S. ambassador says he’s running for County Commission in 2014
BREMERTON — Ed Wolfe, a Bremerton lawyer and former U.S. State Department official, announced Dec. 3 he will file to run for the County Commission from Central Kitsap in 2014.
The filing period isn’t until May. The primary will be Aug. 5, and the general election will be Nov. 4.
His campaign announcement comes as Kitsap County Democratic Party precinct committee officers prepare to nominate three candidates for appointment to the County Commission position being vacated by Josh Brown, who is leaving to become executive director of the Puget Sound Regional Council.
The County Commission will appoint an interim successor, a Democrat. The appointee will have eight months in office before the primary. Among the seven hoping to be recommended for appointment: Cary Bozeman, former mayor of Bremerton and Bellevue; and Leslie Daugs, Bremerton City Council member.
“One of the things our PCOs are taking into account is, is the person electable next year,” said Katherine Woods, chairwoman of the Kitsap County Democratic Party. “As far as Ed Wolfe, we’re going to have our best candidate out there.”
Among the issues she expects to be raised during the 2014 campaign: The proposed West Sound Performing Arts Center, Silverdale incorporation, passenger-only ferry service, and taxes.
In his campaign announcement, Wolfe said he looks forward to “sharing more about my ideas that draw on my business, government, and legal experiences and that support a bipartisan approach to our county government. It’s time to put my experience serving our country, local families and taxpayers to work in Kitsap County.”
He added, “I’ve spent years living and working in our community, and believe now is the right time to take this next step to serve Kitsap County as commissioner.”
Wolfe, 66, has a heavy resume. He received his B.A. in 1969 from West Virginia University and his J.D. in 1977 from George Mason University School of Law. He served in the U.S. Army from 1969-71.From 1972-74, he was field manager at Coca Cola USA in Atlanta, Ga. He was senior legislative assistant to Rep. G. William Whitehurst, R-Va., 1976-78; and an associate in the firm of Steele and Utz in Washington, D.C., 1978-1980. He served as policy and program consultant for the National Marine Fisheries Service in 1981, and was legislative representative to the United States Tuna Foundation in 1981-82.
In the U.S. Department of State, he was special adviser for international affairs in the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs from 1982-83, and in 1983 was appointed deputy assistant secretary of state for Oceans and Fisheries Affairs. After 1984, he held the rank of ambassador when representing the United States at international conferences and meetings on fish and wildlife matters.
He founded Wolfe Law Offices in 1997, specializing in personal injury, employment discrimination, probate and estate planning, real estate and business disputes, and wrongful death. He served as president of the Kitsap County Bar Association. He was appointed judge pro tem in Kitsap County District Court and the cities of Bremerton, Bainbridge Island and Gig Harbor.
Wolfe’s civic involvements include Rotary, Boys & Girls Club, Olympic College Foundation, Puget Sound Naval Bases Association and the Bremerton Chamber of Commerce. In 2012, he served as county chairman for the Rob McKenna for Governor Campaign, helping McKenna win 50.13 percent of the vote in Kitsap County.
Kitsap County Republican Party Chairman Chris Tibbs said Wolfe’s candidacy is symbolic of changes going on in the local GOP. Internal strife between moderates and conservatives has “come to an end,” he said. “There are different shades of red, but at the end of the day, the goal of the Republican Party is to elect Republicans.”
Of Wolfe, he said, “A candidate of his caliber rarely comes along. The guy is all about community service and he wants to give back to his community. He brings a lot to the table. He has the personality of a statesman and he knows how to work across the aisle for the common good. He’s an impressive individual.”
County commissioners are elected to four-year terms and receive $112,049 per year. They receive the same benefits as county employees.
Commissioners approve laws and manage the county budget. Commissioners are responsible for county policies related to community development, county finance, environmental protection, human services, parks and recreation, public safety and health, solid waste, transportation, and state legislative-directed duties.
Angel was last Republican elected to County Commission
Jan Angel was the last Republican elected to the Board of County Commissioners — in 2004 (she was first elected in 2000). Republicans held a majority from 2002 to 2006, when Josh Brown was elected. Angel is now a state senator from the 26th District.
The commission from 2002-06 was: Chris Endresen, Democrat, District 1 (North Kitsap); Jan Angel, Republican, District 2 (South Kitsap); Patty Lent, Republican, District 3 (Central Kitsap).