The reluctant politician

June 13th, 2011 by Ken

News that Thurston County Auditor Kim Wyman might have her sights set on higher political office caught me by surprise. I’ve always considered her to be a reluctant politician. I always thought she had been thrust into political office because of circumstances.

I never thought that Kim Wyman had any further plans than county office, but now comes word that she’s considering running for Washington Secretary of State, if and when Sam Reed retires.

Afterall, she followed Reed into the county auditor’s office, I guess it makes sense for her to follow him into the statewide office. But, Reed was and is a politician. He has been involved in politics since the 1970’s when he ran the state wide effort to get 18-year old voting.

Wyman never struck me as a politician. When she came to this area from California, she went to work in the Thurston County Auditor’s office in a clerical position. It wasn’t long before she worked her way up to deputy auditor. When Reed was elected to the Secretary of State’s office, Wyman was a natural to follow him, by appointment, to the county job.

But, Reed was a Republican, and as far as anyone knew, Wyman was non-political. But in order to be appointed to Reed’s vacant seat, she had to be a Republican, and so she did.

I’ve never really thought of her as a Republican. I’ve seen her at Republican events and other partisan functions, but I’ve never thought of her as a Republican.

Neither have the voters of Thurston County. In this most Democratic of counties, Wyman is the only county-wide elected official. She can’t get that job without the support of Democrats, and she has often received their support (behind the scenes of course.) In the last election, she ran unopposed. The Democratic Party didn’t even put up a token opposition against her.

So, while I’ve never considered her a politician, she is a natural leader. She’s done a good job as Thurston County Auditor and is well respected, not only by the voters in this county, but by her peers around the state. If Reed can go from Thurston County Auditor to Secretary of State, there’s no reason that Wyman can’t.

Except, she’s not a partisan politician. If she’s really serious about seeking statewide office, she’s going to have to tap into the resources of the Republican Party, and to do that, she’s going to have to become more partisan.

For her sake, I hope she knows what she’s doing. A reluctant politician is going to have to be less reluctant and more political. And, if that happens, it’s going to take away some of the good feelings Thurston County residents have about her.

Posted in Government, History, Informational, Local Politics, The Real News

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