Key Peninsula will help choose candidates for two federal, one state, three legislative district and two county positions in the primary elections Aug. 2, in addition to judicial offices and local precinct committee officers.
At the federal level, Sen. Patty Murray (D) is up for reelection against 17 challengers across the political spectrum. U.S. Rep Derek Kilmer (D-6th) faces five opponents.
In the statehouse, legislative district 26 Sen. Emily Randall (D-Bremerton) is being challenged by Rep. Jesse Young (R-Gig Harbor). Two Democrats will vie for Young’s seat while Rep. Michelle Caldier (R-Port Orchard) is up against Democratic Gig Harbor attorney Matt Macklin.
Closer to home, five candidates are after the seat to be vacated by Pierce County Council Member Derek Young (D-7th), who will be term-limited out of office.
Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson (NP) is running for secretary of state with seven other candidates. The Republican incumbent Kim Wyman stepped down from the post last year to serve in the Biden Administration. Wyman had repeatedly refuted former Pres. Donald Trump’s false claims of election fraud, and she now leads the Department of Homeland Security’s efforts to protect elections from hacking and voters from disinformation. Gov. Jay Inslee appointed Democratic state Sen. Steve Hobbs to replace her, and he is on the ballot seeking a full term with seven others, including Anderson. Three county-wide candidates are vying to succeed her in Pierce County.
Precinct committee officer candidates will also appear on the ballots of their respective KP precincts. They are not included in the Voters’ Pamphlet, but PCOs are the main point of contact for voters in their neighborhoods. They elect party leadership, help fill vacancies in elected office, and lead their precinct caucus every two years.
Key Peninsula News asked each candidate in local races to answer the same question: “What is the greatest need on the Key Peninsula and, if elected, how will you meet it?” Their answers appear below, edited for length. If there was no response from a candidate, biographical information from their website appears instead.
Chris Binns (R)
Bio: Served three years in the U.S. Marine Corp. Attended Seattle Central Community College and the Trident Institute for Marine Technology; received an associate degree in marine engineering. Worked as a commercial fisherman, merchant marine and an able-bodied seaman with the Washington State Ferries until October 2021.
Todd Bloom (R)
Bio: Small business owner; Navy officer with 11 years’ post-9/11 active service; Big Four experience working with national and global public companies and private clients; sectors: energy, finance, technology; CPA, CFA, CFP, attorney.
Incumbent Rep. Derek Kilmer (D)
Answer: “The people I meet on the Key Peninsula say their number one issue is being squeezed by inflation, so I’ve voted to crack down on price gouging by oil companies and to lower gas prices. I helped write legislation to reduce dependence on China and boost American manufacturing, which would reduce inflation. I voted to make prescription drugs more affordable and sponsored legislation to expand Social Security to give seniors relief from rising prices. I’ve secured funding to help people being squeezed by rising housing prices by building more housing in our region. There is a lot more work to be done, so I will continue visiting the Key Peninsula and listening to people’s needs.”
Elizabeth Kreiselmaier (R)
Bio: Successful career in program evaluation and research at WestEd/Far West Laboratory (program director) and Oregon Research Institute (research scientist). Wrote and directed federal grants in special and general education. Taught university and professional development courses, consultant to National Science Foundation, universities, state education departments, school districts and nonprofits.
Rebecca Parson (D)
Answer: “As I see it, and after talking with friends who live on the Key Peninsula, the greatest need is a connection to services. Having to cross at least one bridge, if not two, to get medical treatment, have a wider selection of restaurants, see a movie, or access entertainment and services (especially for kids and seniors) is expensive and time-consuming. It’s even more so for people without a car. As a member of Congress, I would seek to get more federal funding for small businesses, local services, and transit on the Key Peninsula. Peace and quiet is one of the things that makes the Key Peninsula so special, but that should not come at the expense of vital services.”
Tom Triggs (I)
Bio: Evergreen Service Station Association – a chapter president Kittitas County; Vietnam Veterans of America – cofounder and first president Kitsap County; campaigned for state representative 26th legislative district; campaigned for state representative 23rd legislative district; Gulf Oil Station Operator; Union Oil Station Operator; automotive repair and towing business; insurance agent at American Insurance Kitsap County; NAPA sales rep. for Silar Auto Parts-Kitsap County.
David Crissman (R)
Bio: I haven’t been elected to any position since grade school. Anything’s got to be better than my current job though, including being a politician, so I might as well give it a shot. I honorably served in the Army, doing tours of duty in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
Incumbent Sen. Emily Randall (D)
Answer: “Before I was elected in 2018, I heard from neighbors that the Key Peninsula had been underserved and overlooked by politicians. For the last four years, I’ve worked to turn that around — increasing healthcare access with Peninsula Community Health Services and KP fire department, prioritizing rural broadband, and investing in affordable housing like The Mustard Seed Project. I’ll prioritize getting working families back on their feet — making sure folks can afford to stay in their homes, get where they need to go, access the education and career training they need, and put food on their tables. My job is to make sure the hardworking people of the Key Peninsula have the tools they need to build a stronger future.”
Rep. Jesse Young (R)
Answer: “Public safety and supporting our first responders are the number one issues affecting us all. This year, state patrol has reported that over 900 drivers have refused to stop for troopers. Car theft in our district is up over 400%, and drug use and crime are rising across the board! We shouldn’t have to fear when our spouse goes to the store for groceries, or our kids wait for the school bus in the morning. We need leaders who unapologetically back the blue and stand up to the radical groups out of Seattle. I will be your voice of reason, not only with crime, but also with fiscal responsibility and fixing gas prices and inflation.”
Spencer Hutchins (R)
Answer: “The residents of Key Peninsula have long enjoyed a high quality of life, independence, and elbow room. But that lifestyle is at risk with increasing crime. Shoplifting, vehicle prowls, property theft, vandalism, and drug use are skyrocketing. The law has been watered down so much that police aren’t able to do their jobs effectively. There are only two sheriff’s deputies west of the Narrows Bridge full-time. We shouldn’t have to feel like we’re on our own when it comes to our safety and security on the peninsula. As a state representative, I will work to pass a common sense pursuit bill that returns to our police the ability to chase down and arrest fleeing criminals. I will work to increase law enforcement funding and expand the police presence here.”
Adison Richards (D)
Answer: “The issue I hear about the most from Key Peninsula citizens is public safety. The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department is understaffed, which contributes to slow response times on the KP. The legislature has tools to provide support, like funding the courts, victim advocates and state patrol. Public safety also involves education and increasing the opportunity to work and pay the bills to retire with dignity, which for many feels impossible. We should grow wages, not taxes. I used to live on the KP. I love it here, and I want you to get the attention you deserve in Olympia.”
Incumbent Rep. Michelle Caldier (R)
Answer: “The greatest need on the Key Peninsula is to ensure their elected leaders prioritize Key Pen residents. When I became elected, I fought to bring equity to the Key Peninsula and helped procure funding for the Key Pen Civic Center, Longbranch Marina, Gateway Park and Mustard Seed Project’s senior center. Every vote I take in Olympia takes into consideration how it will impact residents on the Key Peninsula. This includes increased response times of law enforcement and the ability for people to stay safe from criminals, the impacts of rising gas prices on rural drivers, and the effect of exorbitant property taxes and rental costs on struggling families.”
Matt Macklin (D)
Answer: “The Key Peninsula needs a representative who is present in the community and will make the investment in critical service infrastructure, especially broadband internet, a reality. The KP addressed its power stability issues long ago through local solutions like Peninsula Light Co. They shouldn’t be expected to address the connectivity and transportation issues that continue isolating students, limiting working families’ opportunities, or shutting off seniors from needed healthcare appointments.”
Mitch Anderson (R)
Answer: “The greatest concern on the Key Peninsula that I’m aware of is the lack of law enforcement and long response times. Currently, full staffing for the Pierce County Sheriff is two deputies — three if they’re lucky — to cover everything west of the Narrows Bridge. One of my goals is to fully fund the sheriff’s department to bring staffing levels back to where they need to be. This will eliminate having to pull deputies from property crimes enforcement and other special units just to get cops on the street. I will also lobby Olympia on behalf of Pierce County to restore the law enforcement tools our state legislature took away, including the ability to pursue bad guys.”
Robyn Denson (D)
Answer: “Over my years of involvement on the KP, residents have shared with me concerns about development and growth, fears about losing rural character, increased crime and the need for quicker law enforcement response, road and intersection safety, inadequate broadband, lack of mental health services, transportation, damage to the environment, homelessness, and the need for better access to county services. I’ll work to bring much-needed resources and services to the Key Peninsula by utilizing my unique experience as a highly effective local government public servant, my trusted relationships at the county, state and national levels, and my understanding of what makes the KP so special.”
Josh Harris (R)
Answer: “The greatest need I see from talking with friends and folks on the Key Pen is infrastructure and resources. I was out with deputies and code enforcement throughout the Key Peninsula. Pierce County is doing a good job of cleaning up distressed and derelict properties. It was also good to see their compassion for people living on these properties and more so the elderly that are being taken advantage of. We need more deputies per shift. I plan on making sure that Key Peninsula is not forgotten by holding open house forums to table the concerns and issues of the peninsula and ensuring a budget is there to support it.”
Editor’s Note: Harris is under investigation for a May 30 alleged self-defense shooting. If he is charged and convicted of a felony for that incident, he would not be able to serve on the council unless certain conditions are met. Harris already has two theft convictions, including one felony count for theft. He had his right to possess firearms reinstated and legally obtained a concealed weapons permit, according to the Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
Update: Harris will not be charged with any crimes following the shooting, the county prosecutor's office said July 8. Harris shot a man driving a vehicle at him in Tacoma May 30. An investigation found he fired in self-defense. The man he shot survived and will be charged with assault with a deadly weapon.
Paula Lonergan (R)
Answer: “Crime is up in every part of our county, and Key Peninsula is not exempt. We desperately need to increase sheriff staffing and visibility in unincorporated Pierce County. I would like to represent Pierce County on the South Sound 911 Board to help provide oversight of this vital dispatch service. There are a number of other areas where the courts, alternate bail options and pre-trial services may not be serving our citizens well. We must also take a very hard look at increasing our jail staffing and capacity to reduce the number of career criminals on our streets. For a safer community, career criminals must know they face a real crime deterrent, and know what options are available when they’re ready to change their behavior.”
Chuck West (R)
Answer: “The greatest need on the KP is to be heard. We need many things, from improved law enforcement presence, transportation improvements, and services for our diverse population. The KP pays more than our share in property taxes to Pierce County that we don’t see an equitable return on. I’ll be a loud voice demanding our share of the services.” n
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