PORT TOWNSEND — Jefferson County Commissioner Kathleen Kler was honored for her four years of service Wednesday with a reception that drew a standing room-only crowd that spilled out into the hall.
Kler, 68, retires at the end of the year after a term that covered issues ranging from marijuana, to washed out roads to the shooting range ordinance.
Her District 3 seat will be filled by fellow Quilcene Democrat Greg Brotherton, who will take the oath Dec. 31. The district includes Quilcene, Port Ludlow, Brinnon, Discovery Bay and Coyle in East Jefferson County as well as Queets/Clearwater in West Jefferson County.
Kler chose not to run for re-election to be with her husband, David Hakkenson, who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
She said after taking some family time and studio time, she was going to be “making some choices when I resurface as to how I’ll be involved in this remarkable county.
“The county is made up of all kinds of people with life experiences and ideas and perspectives that are valid,” Kler said.
”The whole idea of trying to govern is to keep all those ideas and all those people in some kind of neighborly way. That’s what I’ve tried to do.”
She thanked her staff as well as the other elected officials that she interacted with over her term.
Legislative District 24 Reps. Steve Tharinger and Mike Chapman attended the reception, as did the three county commissioners from Clallam County — Mark Ozias, Randy Johnson and Bill Peach.
“She had the right heart to be a commissioner,” Ozias said.
“I worked closely with her on the board of the Salish Behavioral Health Organization, a highly complex subject matter. The dedication she showed and the level of knowledge she developed over the course of time was admirable.
“All three of us worked with her in different capacities and it’s clear to me that we all respected how she approached her work. “
Jefferson County Commissioner David Sullivan paid tribute to Kler’s husband, saying he was the “first man,” supporting her every day.
“I don’t have a lot to say,” Hakkenson said, “because she has a way of leaving me speechless.”
Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Jeannie McMacken can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at email@example.com