The Pragmatic Sophist


Rick Sorrels

2013 election – issues and candidates

The August primary election saw an abysmal 20 percent voter turnout for Pierce County and 26 percent for the state. For Key Peninsula, the poor turnout is easy to understand. There was nothing of substance on the ballot.

Expect a repeat in November, except for state senator and two property tax levies. The winner for senator position could well determine whether there will be a Democratic or Republican majority. Leading up to November, expect a lot of money to be spent on propaganda, over which both candidates claim they have no control.

We do have two great candidates for the job.

Nathan Schlicher (Democrat) is the incumbent, having been appointed in January to fill the vacancy left when Derek Kilmer left for Washington, D.C.

Jan Angel (Republican) is the challenger, serving her fifth year in the State House of Representatives (winning in three elections), with the previous eight years serving as a Kitsap County commissioner.

Schlicher is a bit of a surprise. He is only 30 years old. He graduated from high school at 14, which was too young to enter medical school, so he finished his Juris Doctorate (law degree) before starting medical school, which he finished by age 23. He is an emergency room physician at St. Anthony Hospital.

He emphasizes that he is not a politician and has not run for elected office before. Even while serving as a state senator, he continues to work a few hours each month in the emergency room.

Angel has name recognition. She has operated various businesses in Pierce and Kitsap counties for 30 years, and served 13 years in elected office. Angel has lived and fought in the political trenches, solving the problems as they develop, making the normal progression from county commissioner to state representative, and now trying for state senator.

Both candidates support schools, education, jobs, business, transportation, law enforcement and safety. Both candidates dislike the partisan strife and obfuscation, with a continuing intension of working “across the aisle.”

Neither candidate seems to be a party standard-bearing radical, but rather a more common sense decider of issues as they develop.

Two main differences are apparent: experience and approach to budget.

Angel wants to find the funding when the laws are passed. Schlicher tends to concentrate on the importance of the issue, leaving the funding for later.

Angel has learned the intricacies of pushing a bill through both Houses, having done so successfully and knowing the inner working of the various levels of state, county and municipal governments.

Schilcher has a lot to learn quickly. Stuff that does not come out of a book, with opponents waiting to trip him at every opportunity. (Politics has become an extreme hard-ball game.) But a “youngster” who can finish off both a JD and an MD by the age of 23 can be no less than brilliant, and may well appeal to an electorate that is sick and tired of Chicago-styled politics, and looking for something “different.”

Angel won the straw-vote primary by a wide margin, but Schlicher, who was a complete unknown until his appointment in January, has pulled in good numbers for a relative unknown. Both candidates are crowd-friendly, welcoming contact and questions.

I predict a close race, with lots of outside garbage to confuse issues and the personalities. Lets hope we, and both candidates, can survive through November without any permanent damage.