Mayor Bozeman's night to remember

Mayor Cary Bozeman hugs Gary Sexton, Bremerton
Mayor Cary Bozeman hugs Gary Sexton, Bremerton's director of economic development, at his retirement party May 29.
— image credit: Photo by Steven DeDual

The hall outside the dining room at the Kitsap Conference Center at Bremerton Harborside was packed with people wall-to-wall May 29.

They were there to wish Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman well and hear him reminisce about his last seven years serving at the helm of the city.

P.S. Reilly, president of the Athena Institute in Kirkland, served as emcee for the event and introduced the Bozeman and other speakers throughout the evening.

Pastor Brown opened the night with a prayer in which he thanked God for "a man like Cary Bozeman."

Reilly added her own remarks about Bozeman's performance, not only in Bremerton, but across the water as well, and she spoke about the many "public spaces" Bozeman has brought to Bremerton, including "the building we are in now," she said of the Kitsap Conference Center.

She introduced Bozeman who took center-stage and prepared to speak and show slides of his past seven years in Bremerton.

Bozeman, who was abandoned as a child and raised in foster homes, said his only hope was for "people to remember [him] as a good person."

He explained how 30 years in the non-profit world helped him learn how to bring people together and to ask people for help.

Bozeman then began showing slides of different projects from his term as mayor, starting with bringing Anthony's restaurant to the harborside area.

He spoke about the Norm Dicks Government Center, bringing free Wi-Fi to the downtown area, getting the Navy involved in moving the building which is now the Bremerton Naval Museum, as well as the fountains and parks he is "so proud of."

As he stepped away from the microphone, he said, "I'm going to miss that office, and I'm going to miss Elaine Valencia."

Cecil McConnell, president of the Bremerton City Council, presented Bozeman with a plaque and a thank you.

"We wish you all the best in the world," he said.

Patty Lent, who was elected to the Kitsap Mental Health Services board of directors in March 2009 and has announced her plan to run for mayor of Bremerton, also took an opportunity to thank Bozeman and to remind him of a time when they worked together in Bellevue.

"We raised a million dollars for the Boys and Girls Club," she said. "We go back a long way."

Poulsbo Mayor Kathryn Quade and Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola were both present to wish Bozeman well. Coppola dispelled rumors that tension existed between him and Bozeman.

"[Bozeman] said, 'I want to tell you something. A healthy Port Orchard is good for Bremerton. And anything I can do to help you, I'm here to do,'" he said. "Cary has been a role model to me, very helpful to me and I appreciate everything you've done."

Other candidates for the vacated mayor position, like Carlos Jara, also were out shaking hands and discussing Bremerton's future with members of the community after the speakers finished.

Hors d'oeuvres were served and the bar was open with a yell from the outgoing mayor, "Party time!"

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