Seaquist, Jensen highlight differences | Adele Ferguson

Democrat Rep. Larry Seaquist of Gig Harbor decided to demonstrate at the Bremerton Chamber of Commerce’s “eggs and issues” forum that he was fit and sound despite having just reached his 70th birthday so said he’d take all his questions standing up.

That didn’t flummox his 26th district Republican opponent, Marilyn Jensen, who’s 64. Perfectly coiffed and impeccable in a smart blue suit, the Gig Harbor property manager scrambled quickly to her feet, in stiletto heels, and said so would she.

She also took the first opportunity to declare that she came from humble beginnings, daughter of a social worker and at the age of 10 peddling I forget what door-to-door and worked her way through college. She’s obviously in clover now, but she worked hard all her life to earn what she’s got, she said.

Seaquist told the crowd at the Cloverleaf Grill that Mrs. Jensen had called him the day after she announced against him and said she hoped their campaign against other would stay civil. But having participated in a number of appearances with her, he said, “she thinks all government is parasites and all politicians are crooked.”

Somebody in the crowd asked “Aren’t they?” but was shushed by chamber emcee Silvia Klatman whose job it is to hold down the repartee and keep candidates and listeners from debating each other. It is not an easy task.

Mrs. Jensen, Seaquist said, “is using the talking points of the Karl Rove machine just to stir up the people. We’ve got serious problems and should not be using talking points just to excite people.”

Actually, I thought exciting people is what candidates were supposed to do.

Mrs. Jensen took Seaquist’s scolding with a smile and repeated her mantra. “I am a citizen, he’s a politician,” she said. “I try for lower taxes, vote for me.”

Seaquist was nailed by a listener for his “dismal 31 percent voting record for business and what are you going to do about it? And how do you feel now about defeating a great business opportunity like NASCAR?”

“You falsely give me credit (for defeating NASCAR),” said Seaquist, who became famous area-wide for stating that NASCAR in Kitsap County would attract what amounts to trailer trash as visitors. “The voters of South Kitsap defeated it.”

He was trying to build a coalition to improve his business voting record, he said.

Mrs. Jensen announced that she had been endorsed by the National Assn. of Independent Businesses.

Should the Legislature pass a law penalizing teacher strikes since such strikes have been declared illegal by the U.S. Supreme Court and, more recently, Atty. Gen. Rob McKenna?

If that’s the law, teachers should obey it, said Mrs. Jensen. Seaquist said the Legislature should “do nothing, not change anything. I am a very strong pro labor vote.”

Both agreed the state’s taxing system needs an overhaul and with the chamber’s positions of ferry improvements (freeze fares, buy new vessels, exempt the system from paying fuel taxes) and cleaning up health care.

What should be done to get more math and science teachers? Pay them more, both said. Mrs. Jensen opposed a proposal to pay education costs for foster children. Seaquist said it was cheaper and faster to give foster kids a free education than pay for them in prison.

When it was over, Seaquist sat down. A radiant Mrs. Jensen stayed standing to shake hands with the crowd.

Adele Ferguson can be reached at P.O. Box 69, Hansville, WA 98340.

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