In our opinion: The House of Representin'
July 8, 2011 · 4:19 PM
It’s not like Bremerton is ignored.
A short stroll through the eerily quiet downtown proves that state and federal lawmakers representing Kitsap’s largest city, and the county’s economic and cultural center, care. The pile of public money that has gone into renovating the city’s waterfront is proof.
But the city does not have a state or federal lawmaker who calls the county’s only real city home.
Is it simply a matter of civic self-esteem? Is it logical for the city to want its very own lawmaker?
It may be. However, it doesn’t do much for the city’s self-esteem to know that the district dividing lines which cut through the blue collar town, arguably the most ethnically and economically diverse place on the Olympic Peninsula, appear to be a sort of vote cow for Democratic incumbents from far flung places like Hoodsport, Gig Harbor and Bainbridge Island.
(Is Bremerton on the Olympic Peninsula? Perhaps that is an argument best held at a later date.)
There are also arguments for why chopping up Bremerton works in the city’s interest, keeping nine reliable ferry votes in Olympia, especially at a time when the Bremerton route is routinely in danger of drastic cuts.
But there is more to civic pride than having a lawmaker with “Bremerton” following his or her name in the newspaper.
There is a value in knowing that the person elected to represent your interests, and the interests of your neighbor, lives down the street.
Or at least lives on a street like the one you live on.
There are two competing ideas here, one that the city needs to think strategically, and keep the three districts, and the nine lawmakers that come with the current configuration.
The other idea is that representatives should represent.