In part see my answer to question 11. I feel that for the County to have government run by independent Council Members this race should be non-partisan. It should be noted that only the Democratic Party has offered an endorsement to me (and I believe the other candidates), and I rejected asking for their endorsement by not filling out their questionnaire. Other national parties have not contacted me about support or endorsements and I applaud them for this stance.
The Charter says this is a non-partisan election, so I follow not only the letter of the charter, but the spirit as well and am independent. Note: if it were a partisan election I’d still be an independent, because I feel that in county elections, partisanship can provide for a lazy electorate. The voters should do all they can to learn about the candidates, their backgrounds and their positions. Without the crutch of an (R) or (D) after the candidate’s name, a voter must educate him or herself on each candidate to be able to cast a meaningful vote. I’m proud of the fact that in the November 2012 election, the people who know me best, the people in my district, elected me with nearly 70% of the vote with no party affiliation.
I have not accepted the endorsement of a national political party. I have accepted the endorsement of the San Juan County Democratic Party. The county Democratic Party invited all candidates to answer a questionnaire. The Party endorsed me based on my answers to those questions. I accepted the endorsement, because I have generally, though not exclusively, voted Democratic. Accepting the endorsement was a way of communicating that fact to the voters.
I am proud of all the endorsements I have received. The objections to local political party endorsements are very confusing. During the 2012 election, the SJC Democrats were forthright in stating their endorsement of me, which brought about this kind of criticism. At the same time, only my opponent was included on the SJC Republican Party’s website and only my opponent was invited to speak at the SJC GOP event that featured several regional and statewide Republican candidates. This certainly gave the impression that my opponent was endorsed by the Republicans.
The Journal of the San Juan Islands’ editorial on December 5, 2012 states: “The charter doesn’t say candidates cannot be a member of, or be supported by, a political party. Nor does it specify that members of a political party, or the political party itself, cannot endorse, contribute to, or work for a given candidate. To do so would surely be a violation of constitutional guaranties of free association and free speech…. We recognize that political parties and “special interests” can be a source of dysfunction and frustration, both locally and nationally. But we’d much rather they come right out in public with their endorsements and contributions and positions on issues. Then you can make up your mind with maximum information.”
The Charter, and also the voters’ intent, does not violate our constitutional guaranties of free association and free speech by restricting endorsements. What is important is open and transparent government and that begins with the campaign. I will continue to receive and seek endorsements from individuals and groups throughout this campaign and I will ensure that those endorsements are open and transparent.
I have not asked for or accepted any Political Party endorsement. I have always voted my conscience, considering what I believe is best for my community and country. This is a non-partisan position. If a person accepts a Political Party endorsement, that person represents the party’s views and shows that he or she can be influenced in decision making.