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Rossi brings his campaign to San Juan Island

From left, Dino Rossi, candidate for governor, chats with John Towson, chairman of the San Juan County Republican Party rally and fund-raiser Saturday at E.J. Thorndike’s Big Red Barn on Cattle Point Road. - Contributed photo / Janice Peterson
From left, Dino Rossi, candidate for governor, chats with John Towson, chairman of the San Juan County Republican Party rally and fund-raiser Saturday at E.J. Thorndike’s Big Red Barn on Cattle Point Road.
— image credit: Contributed photo / Janice Peterson

Pledges to fund ferries, improve the state’s image

“Saturday was truly a record setting event.”

Thus proclaimed John Towson, who chaired the old-fashioned Republican rally at E.J. Thorndike’s Cattle Point Road barn, attended by more than 250 people.

Dino Rossi, candidate for governor, and his wife Terry arrived shortly after 2 p.m. via helicopter and stayed through the barbecued salmon and hot dog dinner. Other VIP candidates: Attorney General Rob McKenna, up for reelection; Rick Bart, candidate for the local seat in Congress; and Steve Van Luven, candidate for 40th District state Senate.

Former Congressional candidate Doug Roulstone and Chris Fidler, state co-chairman for presidential candidate John McCain, represented McCain’s campaign.

Local non-partisan candidates in attendance were John Linde, candidate for Superior Court judge; and Lisa Guard and Gordy Petersen, candidates for County Council, San Juan South.

The Argyle Street Band, headed by former county commissioner Tom Starr, kept feet tapping as the group gathered for hors d’oeuvres and wines from Yvonne Swanberg’s San Juan Vineyards. Attendees also lined up to meet and be photographed with the candidates.

Rossi, who lost his 2004 gubernatorial bid by 129 votes, said he hadn’t read the current cover story in Sunset magazine telling people that coming to Friday Harbor wasn’t worth the “ferry hassle,” and to check out Anacortes instead. But he said this was typical of the way the state government’s workers are perceived by tourists and locals alike.

Rossi, in his after-dinner speech, said he wants a “satisified customer” approach to the public from elected and publicly paid workers in every capacity.

“I want the state of Washington to be the best place in the union to start a business and the worst place in the union to commit a crime,” he said.

Rossi promised to repair the ferry system (as he had hoped to do in 2004). He said just voting the money is not enough if the Legislature has the ability to find other needs for earmarked funds.

Rossi also pointed out that new legislation on voting fraud has revealed more than 460,000 registrations that were irregular in our state.

He left to cheers from a waving crowd of enthused supporters.

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