A handful of people attending a Concerned Citizens of Clallam County candidate forum got up and left when organizers announced Congressman Norm Dicks, D-Belfair, would not be appearing.
Four-C’s organizers advertised the debate to be between Republican candidate for Congress Doug Cloud and the incumbent Dicks. Pat Tenhulzen said the candidate forum organizers weren't sure if Dicks would be attending or not until they heard he wouldn't on Sept.21.
Dick’s campaign manager Anna Boone said the congressman was on his way back to Washington, D.C., yesterday so he could be present for several important votes this week.
“For weeks we’d been clear that he could not attend on that date,” she said.
Boone said the campaign is working with the Clallam County League of Women Voters to identify a date in October that would work for Dicks to attend its candidate forum.
Meanwhile, Cloud, of Gig Harbor, had the undivided attention of Monday’s forum attendees after Dicks representative Nick Woodson finished reading a prepared statement on why he supported Dicks for Congress.
“I’m drawing a line in the sand and Norm Dicks doesn’t want to face that line and the mistakes he’s made,” Cloud said.
Cloud said it is time for people in Washington’s 6th Congressional District to stop seeing Dicks as a “sugar daddy” they can’t survive without.
Cloud said people like Dicks are “running the country into the ground.”
Dicks has represented the 6th District since 1977 and secured funding for many large projects bringing jobs to the area, including the Elwha River restoration, Woodson said.
Cloud said 34 years in office is enough.
“We need to get rid of the existing leadership in the country, period,” he said.
When asked about the Department of Education and the Department of Energy, Cloud said both should be abolished. The federalization of education is wrong, he said.
As for energy, “We have enough energy to last thousands of years if government would just get out of the way,” he said. “That’s my energy policy.”
An audience member asked Cloud for his opinion on the Federal Reserve.
“I think the Federal Reserve is the cause of our current economic situation more than anything else,” he said.
There’s no reason the country can’t have private competitive currency, he said.
When asked by an audience member if he would seek an endorsement from Sarah Palin, Cloud said his campaign hasn’t pressed the issue but will pursue one if it is important to the woman who asked.
Prosecutorial candidates Larry Freedman, D-Sequim, and incumbent Deb Kelly, R-Port Angeles, also participated in the candidate forum.
Moderated by Ryan Kent Smith, of Sequim, the candidates were asked seven questions each.
Freedman, asked about his experience, said he has 47 years in law including experience as a judge, law professor, criminal lawyer and court commissioner and has managed three law firms.
“I am tough, I am fair, I am honest,” he said.
Kelly listed improvements made in the office during her seven years as prosecutor. Training is a main focus and she gave up her $400 a month car allowance to ensure budget cuts didn’t impact the training allotment, she said. She also hired an experienced deputy prosecutor to handle land-use litigation so the county didn’t have to continue contracting the service out to Seattle law firms, she said.
Freedman criticized Kelly’s management of the office as contributing to the high turnover in staff, delays in trials and unfavorable outcomes of cases.
Freedman said the role of the prosecutor is to manage the office, train staff, implement policies and procedures, and let staff do their job — not do it for them.
Freedman said if elected he immediately would fire any employee who misrepresented facts or was disrespectful to a judge. He would fire the chief civil deputy prosecutor, who he called “a source of problems in the office and has contributed to an age discrimination lawsuit,” and hire a new one he already has picked out, he said.
Freedman said he also would hire a chief criminal deputy prosecutor.
When it comes to the role of the prosecutor in the courtroom, Freedman said he would give deputy prosecutors the tools to be ready for trial and if they needed assistance, he would step in but make it clear the deputy prosecutor is in charge.
Kelly admitted her office has had rough patches but insisted turnover this year is less than last year. Most of the turnover was due to retirement, health issues, leaving for jobs with better pay or other life issues, she said.
Some employees left because they were disgruntled and others were fired over behavioral problems, she said.
“I demand a full day’s work for a full day’s pay,” she said.
The prosecutor candidates will debate again at 7 p.m. Oct. 13 at the Sequim Senior Activity Center, 921 E. Hammond St.
Reach Amanda Winters at email@example.com.