Thursday, December 27, 2018

Thurston County Elected Officials Sworn In

Above: Elected officials and others pose on stage after the 2018 Thurston County swearing-in ceremony held at South Puget Sound Community College on Thursday.  

By Janine Gates
Little Hollywood

A sparsely attended swearing-in ceremony for newly elected Thurston County officials did not diminish words of wisdom shared by guest speakers on Thursday.

The event was held at the Minneart Center for Performing Arts at South Puget Sound Community College.

Offering the invocation, Reverend Carol McKinley, Olympia Unitarian Universalist Congregation, asked elected officials and citizens alike to maintain a sense of perspective, “understanding our limitations and our own shortcomings, forgiving ourselves and others if we fall short of perfection.”

“May each of us be ready to receive fresh opportunity, new understandings, and new avenues for action and resolution. May each of us remember these virtues that bless our lives and the lives of others: the virtues of caring and compassion, the virtues of honesty and respect, the virtues of charity and patience.

“May all elected officials of Thurston County hold a high sense of their calling, remembering that they are vested here with deep responsibility and make decisions that brings good to the greatest number of people,” she said.

Washington State Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Fairhurst administered the oaths of office.

In her comments, Fairhurst said newly elected officials set the tone for the community’s confidence in our government. 

“We are called upon to be stewards of justice and make sure fairness and equality is delivered in our offices and through the work we are doing,” Fairhurst said. 

“It’s important to see the people with whom you work, or come to your counters or the people you interact with on the street. Their only interaction with government might be you…recognizing their individual dignity and respect all of us are due do to our virtue of being humans and being here.

“…You get to decide the difference you make and now, more than ever, we need everyone to stand up and be their best selves and seeing the best selves in others so that together as a community we can live to our highest ideals and our highest goals, because by choosing to work together, we can, and do, make a difference,” said Fairhurst, who has lived in Thurston County for nearly 35 years.

Speaking of the circle of life, United States Representative Denny Heck (D-10), who handily won reelection to his seat, spoke of how he has moved up in seniority and now has the first office of former U.S. Representative John Dingell in the Rayburn Building in Washington D.C.  

Dingell, 92, of Michigan, served from 1955-2015. 

Heck related a story of how he spotted Dingell as an incoming freshman congressperson in 2013 and sat down next to himBright-eyed, Heck wanted to know the “secret sauce” for navigating his way around. 

Dingell turned to Heck and said, “You have a very important job…and you’re not a very important person.”

Heck said that the lesson was, ‘It’s not about you, it’s about others. So stay humble, because it is only through humility that you can truly empathize with others that you were sent here to represent and serve,” he said.

Above: Washington State Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Fairhurst, left, and Reverend Carol McKinley, Olympia Unitarian Universalist Congregation, on stage Thursday at South Puget Sound Community College.

Tye Menser, who narrowly defeated Commissioner Bud Blake by 861 votes out of a total of 115,401 votes cast, was not present at Thursday’s ceremony.

He will be sworn in December 31 at the Thurston County Courthouse.

Last minute mailers produced by local property rights activist Glen Morgan under various political committees including, “A Brighter Thurston County PAC,” attempted to thwart Menser’s candidacy by confusing voters into writing in Port Commissioner E.J. Zita. 

Zita was not running for the commissioner position and was on record supporting Menser.

According to official results, there were 757 write-ins for that race.

Little Hollywood asked Thurston County Auditor Mary Hall about those write-ins.  

“Since E.J. Zita was not a declared write-in candidate we don’t count any write-in votes for her. We actually explored this with our attorney (to see if we could) and it would require a court order to open all the boxes and count the write-in ballots,” she responded in late November.