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Independent politics and the prosecutor vacancy

Political events continue on the Harbor — one quite local, the other a broader tie in. The Vidette reported recently that Cosmopolis Mayor Vickie Raines has thrown her well prepared, neatly brushed, and positioned hat into the Grays Harbor County Commissioner race for the seat currently held by Herb Welch. It’s no real surprise as anyone who follows county politics knew she was moving in the direction for quite some time.

Personally, I don’t know her as most of us who don’t live in Cosi may relate to. I know she has been active on many issues here on the Harbor, most notably our flood control issues. She is a smart politician and has spent the last several years setting herself up for a run. Her well-known name recognition will either work for her on, in the case of a major stumble, work against her. We will see.

There is some controversy surrounding whether she is a Democrat, Republican, or some sort of Independent – whatever that means. I look forward to hearing what she has to say as the process moves forward.

Our editor here at The Vidette stirred up a bit of a sideshow in calling attention to the spat between Raines and those who control the Democratic Party here in the county. It even was oiling to a head on a local radio program — a “did-to-did-not” type of thing. It was amusing. If nothing else, it illustrates a broader point.

The county Republican Party is still finding its way. They’re not used to winning elections here in the county. They are flat footed and reacting rather than being pro-active. On the other side of the spectrum, the Democratic Party is in full panic.

For quite a while now, the county Democratic Party has been run by what most would consider as far to the left ideology as is possible to get. The more traditional blue collar small “d” Democrats have been pushed off to the side, which is actually a majority of their voters by-the-way.

The pendulum swung so far left that we have seen a dynamic shift here on the Harbor. There’s not one, but two Republicans sitting up at the county commissioner offices. I doubt anyone alive reading this can remember a similar situation.

The recent political games involving three attorneys here locally and the county prosecutor office only further illustrates my point.

Their reputations will never be the same, however, the thought that someone who was not one of them just may possibly have a chance to win that office was worth putting their professional and personal reputations at risk.

One way or another “Our Girl Katie” will be placed into that office. But at what cost? Can anyone reading this column believe that the office will prosecute blindly, or will the phone be picked up to check in with the masters at the Democratic Central Office here in the county? Selective prosecution.

Raines may have caught onto something, her finger in the air. Four years ago, she would have been running as a Democrat. There’s no question in my mind.

The political situation in the county has shifted. It may no longer be advantageous to play the game of joining the Democratic Party to win an election, instead, it may just be the opposite.

The rise of the mantle of Independent is, of course, a game of semantics.

We will be seeing quite a bit of that in the near- and mid-term. You either believe in taking away from those who produce to give it to those who won’t — or you don’t. It’s pretty clear cut.

As this election cycle moves forward, we as voters need to decide if the business as usual around here of voting for the person who puts out the most yard signs with no earthly idea of how they will govern is going to continue.

Tom Frederiksen grew up in Montesano and lives here today with an active blog at montesanotoday.com. Contact him at montesanotoday@gmail.com.

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