Many years ago I ran for the state Legislature from our district and managed, despite being endorsed by two governors and a U.S. Senator, to come in third.
Second place went to a Republican from Oak Harbor that Governors Evans and Spellman classified as a “troglodyte.” (Trogs in history were barbarians who lived underground.)
The winner was a middle-of-the road Democrat from Camano Island who had served on the school board, and a Scandihoovian, born and raised here, by the name of Mary Margaret Haugen.
I’m glad I lost.
Just near my home in Greenbank are a half-dozen major accomplishments directly attributable to Haugen.
For starters, the preservation of the Greenbank Farm, Keystone Spit and the Port Townsend ferry. And does anyone think that Nichols Brothers would have gotten work on five ferries if Haugen had not been chairwoman of the Senate Transportation Committee?
Across the water, the restoration of the last historic resort in Puget Sound and its transformation into the state’s most popular new park, Cama Beach, was a pet project of hers.
And every time we enjoy crab, we should thank Mary Margaret. In 1978 there was no crab fishery in Holmes Harbor because bottom-draggers had wiped it out. But with an amendment, Haugen pushed them out of Holmes Harbor and our Island’s near-shore areas, which is why we now have the richest crab fishery in the state.
This year the choice is between Haugen and Barbara Bailey.
Bailey has drawn a paycheck as our representative for 10 years, but I can’t think of one thing she has accomplished. To be fair, I’ve asked every one of her supporters I’ve met to name just one of her accomplishments.
Oh, they’ve got lots of excuses, but when asked to specify just one concrete improvement Barbara Bailey has made to life here – they got nothing. Zero.
Haugen is a tough act to follow. She is probably the most effective representative we’ve ever had. Losing her would leave us about defenseless in Olympia. Weigh it up.
– Thom Gunn