In response to John Evans’ letter to the Editor (published 1/15/13) I want to first say that I am proud of my contributions and accomplishments on the council, as a volunteer, and in my previous jobs. I am also pleased with the grants that San Juan County has been fortunate to receive, and the many local jobs that resulted from those grant funds. These grant funds have not made SJC beholden to anything other than the deliverables, which are clearly stated in the grants’ contracts.
Regarding campaign endorsements, I am reminded of the disingenuous objections to endorsements during the 2012 election. The SJC Democrats were forthright in stating their endorsements. Officers of the SJC Republican Party spoke in opposition to endorsements, yet only my opponent was included on the SJC Republican Party’s website and only my opponent was invited to speak at the GOP event that featured several regional and statewide Republican candidates.
The Journal of the San Juan Islands’ editorial on December 5, 2012 gives an excellent response to Mr. Evans: “The charter doesn’t say candidates cannot be a member of, or be supported by, a political party. Nor does it specify that members of a political party, or the political party itself, cannot endorse, contribute to, or work for a given candidate. To do so would surely be a violation of constitutional guaranties of free association and free speech…. We recognize that political parties and ‘special interests’ can be a source of dysfunction and frustration, both locally and nationally. But we’d much rather they come right out in public with their endorsements and contributions and positions on issues. Then you can make up your mind with maximum information.”
The charter, and also the voters’ intent, does not violate our constitutional guaranties of free association and free speech by restricting endorsements. What is important is open and transparent government and that begins with the campaign. I will continue to receive and seek endorsements from individuals and groups throughout this campaign and I will ensure that those endorsements are open and transparent.
San Juan Island