Sequim Republican Jim McEntire will run for the county commissioner seat to be vacated by the man who defeated him in the race for state representative.
McEntire announced Tuesday that he hopes to be elected to replace Steve Tharinger as a Clallam County commissioner this fall.
Linda Barnfather, legislative assistant to Rep. Kevin Van De Wege and eight-year Sequim resident, announced April 15 her intention to run as a Democratic candidate for the open seat.
Tharinger and McEntire both ran for Washington state representative last fall in District 24, which includes Clallam, Jefferson and part of Grays Harbor counties. Tharinger, a Democrat, beat McEntire by close to 3,000 votes overall but lost Clallam County to his Republican opponent.
“I’m not running against Steve,” McEntire noted.
But he thinks the Democratic majority on the county commission, Tharinger and Mike Doherty, has brought the county to the state it is in today and he wants to change that, he said.
McEntire said county leaders need to accommodate themselves to “a different economic reality.”
In recent years the commissioners have used the county’s reserve funds to help cover budget gaps and that has to stop without raising taxes to compensate, he said.
“People cannot afford any more taxes,” he said.
McEntire moved to Sequim in 2006 and was elected to the Port of Port Angeles board of commissioners in 2007. Before that he served in the United States Coast Guard, retiring with the rank of captain, and as a civil servant in Washington, D.C., for six years.
Despite his relative newness to the area, McEntire said he knows how to connect with people and won’t have a problem adequately representing local interests.
“As a port commissioner I know you have to put yourself out there, make yourself available, ask questions and find the answers,” he said.
McEntire said it is important for county government to safeguard individual rights as they deal with the challenges of the Shoreline Master Program update, management of the Dungeness watershed and the Carlsborg Urban Growth Area invalidation.
The county should do more to accommodate infrastructure to support the regional economy and job growth, he said. Right now there are too many regulations, McEntire said.
“We need to find the most cost-effective solution to enable people to get building permits again and expand their businesses (in Carlsborg),” he said.
Barnfather and McEntire are the only two people to declare their candidacy in the race so far. The deadline to file as a candidate is June 10.
Reach Amanda Winters at email@example.com.