Two vie for open seat with Port of Coupeville

With a ballot mostly filled with uncontested races on Central Whidbey Island, the Port of Coupeville is one of two contested races in the November general election.

Two of three seats are up for election this year and both have two people vying to fill the spot.

The soon-to-be-retired Port of Coupeville Director Jim Patton will square off against Bill Larsen for the District 2 position.

Patton has been serving at port director for more than eight years and he is resigning at the end of the year. He said he wanted to continue the work currently underway. The biggest project currently underway is determining how Greenbank Farm will be operated once the contract with the Greenbank Farm Management Group expires.

Facing Patton is Bill Larsen, who is making his first foray into local politics.

Larsen, 48 and retired from the Navy, is a substance abuse counselor who was also interested in getting involved in the community.

“It might be a way to get more involved,” Larsen said. He is married with three children and lives in Coupeville.

Both Larsen and Patton have similar backgrounds. Both hail from New York and both served on submarines when they were in the Navy.

Larsen said he is interested in in maintaining a balance of promoting the Greenbank Farm while preserving and maintaining the landscape.

In the second race, recently appointed commissioner Mike Diamanti will face a challenge from Dick Bowen.

Diamanti was appointed to fill Laura Blankenship’s seat when she announced her resignation last month. Because he was appointed, the District 3 seat had to appear on the November ballot. He lost to Blankenship in the November, 2011 election.

Diamanti is familiar with the Port of Coupeville. He served on committees to develop the port’s comprehensive plan and conducted an analysis of the port’s moorage rates and fuel sales.

Bowen, a 72-year-old retired real estate developer, said he thinks there would be more constructive agricultural ways to use the open spaces at the Greenbank Farm.

“There’s got to be some use for that open space,” Bowen said.

He is a member of the Whidbey Camano Land Trust and he has experience with elected office. He was a member of the Bainbridge Island City Council in the 1980s. He added he knows how to build consensus that is important for success in public office.

Central Whidbey Fire and Rescue also has a contested seat up for election this year. Incumbent Cheryl Engle will face Stan Anderson in November.

The Whidbey General Hospital board, Coupeville Town Council and Coupeville School Board have seats up for election in 2013. It appears those races will be uncontested.

The Island County Auditor’s Office will hold a special filing period next month to allow people a chance to run for a seat where no candidate has previously filed. Those seats include a spot on the Whidbey General Hospital board and Coupeville School Board.


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