Departing Jefferson County commissioner looks back

BRINNON – Pat Rodgers hopes understanding of the need for development of the Tri-Area continues and regrets voting for a settlement with the Washington Environmental Council, he said recently as he talked about his term in office as a Jefferson County commissioner.

Anyone who has been in Rodgers’ when he speaks of his home in Brinnon has heard him refer to it as “the center of the universe.”

But the vacating Republican commissioner will leave Brinnon soon after his term concludes in less than two weeks.

Because of his wife Bonnie’s health, the two are moving to Bremerton to be closer to a hospital.

Rodgers, 66, who decided not to run for re-election to another term, hopes that the new commission – all Democrats – will maintain and expand accomplishments he saw during his term in office.

Rodgers decided to run for a commissioner seat in 2003 because he saw a need that he thought he could fill.

“I know finance. I know business. I know economics,” said Rodgers.

“Those are my skills. I perceived this county had a serious – still does – structural economic problem, and I thought I could do something.”

His greatest achievement, he said, is making development of the Tri-Area urban growth area – an area encompassing Port Hadlock, Chimicum and Irondale – a prominent and public issue, so everyone understands it is necessary if the county is to economically succeed.

“That has been a constant mission of mine since the beginning,” said Rodgers.

“The one problem I see coming up is I think that by my not being there, or someone like me, that will be lost.”

He was referring to John Austin, D-Port Ludlow, who will take his District 3 seat in January.

Then all three members of the board will be democrats.

Austin is a retired psychologist. District 2 Commissioner David Sullivan, D-Cape George, is a trained registered nurse, and District 1 Commissioner Phil Johnson, D-Port Townsend, is a building contractor.

Austin beat Republican Ian McFall of Brinnon, a retired software company owner, in the Nov. 7 general election.

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