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New county commissioner appointed
Aubrey Vaughan was selected as interim Island County commissioner last week.
He said during his interviews with commissioners that he wants to rebuild the connection between Camano and Whidbey islands and help the county through this year’s budget process.
“One of the reasons I’m running is I feel there’s been a disconnect,” said Vaughan. “I promise to restore that.”
As the board begins its annual budget cycle, Vaughan said putting together a budget, which is usually adopted in the fall, is going to be one of his primary duties.
“This budget cycle is going to be very important,” he said.
After interviewing three candidates at a special session Tuesday, Commissioners Jill Johnson and Helen Price Johnson deliberated for approximately 15 minutes in closed session before voting to appoint Vaughan as interim Island County commissioner for District 3.
Vaughan, who lives on Camano Island, was a member of the Island County Law and Justice Council, a seat he will relinquish during his commissioner service.
The District 3 seat was vacated in May when Commissioner Kelly Emerson, a Republican, resigned seven months short of her term’s end. Emerson gave one week’s notice.
In accordance with state law in such circumstances, Island County Republicans selected three candidates to be interviewed by the commissioners to fill the seat until the next election.
Marc Hennemann of Camano and Richard Hannold of North Whidbey were also nominated by the Republican party and interviewed by the commissioners.
Vaughan will fill the position until the November’s general election. At that time, a permanent commissioner will be chosen by voters.
Four Republicans and one Democrat have filed to run for the seat.
District 3 comprises North Whidbey and Camano Island.
Price Johnson and Johnson said they selected Vaughan because of his experience serving on the Law and Justice Council.
“He can hit the ground running,” Johnson said.
While the decision was tough, Johnson said she tried to prioritize what was good for Island County as opposed to her own preferences.
Both commissioners agreed that Vaughan’s selection should not affect how constituents approach the election in November.
“I want to make very clear that I don’t see this action today as an endorsement of any kind. We are charged with filling an opening and that’s the way that I’m approaching this decision,” Price Johnson said.
“I encourage folks to be engaged in the process and get to know candidates.”