35th District Position 2 candidates square off

Top two in Aug. 19 primary advance to general election.

At Tuesday morning’s Bremerton Area Chamber of Commerce Eggs and Issues forum, 35th District Position 2 state representative candidate Randy Neatherlin (R) offered a “no bull” platform, while the other three candidates took a slightly more demure approach.

Neatherlin, along with Fred Finn (D), Herb Baze (R) and Daryl Daugs (D), are all vying for the right to replace long-time 35th District state Rep. William “Ike” Eickmeyer (D-Belfair), who served 10 years in the state House, before deciding not to run again this year.

Eickmeyer has endorsed Finn, a Mason County businessman who served on the Griffin School Board in Olympia.

“I am the one person who will stand up in the House of Representatives and tell them, ‘Stop. Enough is enough. Not another dime,’” Neatherlin said.

Instead of focusing on the current political state in Olympia, Finn said he will focus on education, creating living wage jobs through public/private partnerships and the state’s current healthcare crisis.

“700,000 people are uninsured and a quarter of our state is underinsured,” he said, adding more needs to be done to make healthcare in the state more affordable for everyone by reducing the onerous amount of existing regulations.

As a former Mason County commissioner, Baze told the audience he has experience in operating government like a business and that when he left office, Mason County had a $2 million budget surplus, which has now disappeared.

“Government should operate like a business and I’ve shown I can do that,” he said.

While each of the candidates believes they are qualified to serve the 35th District, Baze said he is the only one with experience in government that will make a difference in Olympia.

As the lone candidate from Bremerton, Daugs said he began knocking on doors throughout the district in January and recently surpassed the 10,000-door mark.

“I have a degree in organizational management and I helped create much of the state’s welfare reform that is on the books,” he said. “Although I am a Democrat, I know how to work across the aisle to get things done.”

When it comes to the state’s healthcare insurance woes, Daugs said current state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kriedler has made positive changes and he needs more time to continue those efforts.

As a foster father to more than 50 kids, Daugs said he has learned many important lessons from them, including that “your street cred counts.”

“It’s what you’ve done in your life that counts,” he said.

The top two vote-getters in the Aug. 19 primary will advance to the general election.

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