Windrope elected to Island Rec board of commissioners

Amy Windrope - Scott Rasmussen
Amy Windrope
— image credit: Scott Rasmussen

Amy Windrope is used to getting positive results. And her first-ever run at elected office proved no different.

As of 8:16 p.m. today, Windrope received 1,420 votes to Jeremy Talbott's 941 to earn a position on the San Juan Island Park and Recreation District board of commissioners.

Windrope -- coordinator of the San Juan Initiative, mother of two, a soccer coach and a self-described "klutz" on the athletic field -- said she chose to run for the Island Rec board in part to help fill a void that's mostly missing in her professional career.

She founded an educational program known as Canoes and Sloughs, in which middle-schoolers paddled the streams and estuaries that empty into San Francisco Bay. She said leading those expeditions is the most satisfying work she's done to date.

"It's the best job I ever had," she said in an earlier interview. "It was like finding these hidden wilderness places within this urban setting, and the kids were actually in their own back yard. In my current paid career, I don't get to work with children and I miss that."

Though three of five positions on the commission were up for election on Tuesday, Talbott and Windrope faced each other in the commission's only contested race. Commissioners Scott Zehner and Jim Ricks, both of whom ran unopposed, were re-elected to their respective positions on Tuesday. Windrope will takeover a board position vacated by Ralph Hahn, who stepped down from that post earlier this year.

Island Rec commissioners serve four-year terms, meet twice a month, and receive no financial compensation.

In a race that featured a pair of political newcomers, Windrope, 39, and Talbott, 36, had more in common than in contrast in a decidedly friendly campaign. Each supported raising the Island Rec property tax levy as a means of helping the cash-strapped San Juan Island School District fund its high school sports program. And both praised the recreation district's staff and its board of commissioners for the variety of programs Island Rec provides.

"I can't stress enough how youth and sports can go hand-in-hand in a positive way," Talbott said during the run-up to the election. "For the youth of the island, I think its a win-win situation."

Windrope added, "Sports are a critical component of growing up in America. You learn about character, about playing fair and about following the rules. It teaches good stuff."

Talbott, assistant harbormaster for the Port of Friday Harbor and father of four, was raised in Skagit County, graduated from Mount Vernon High School and spent countless days at his grandparents' home on the west side of San Juan Island. He feels equally at home now in Friday Harbor, where for several years he helped run the family business, the Wizard of Ooze, until it was sold. He described himself as a candidate of continuity rather than one of change during the campaign.

"I have no agenda going into this, other than to make sure that the money the public entrust to the park and recreation district is spent wisely," he said in the late stages of the campaign.

Windrope, however, championed several fresh ideas during the campaign and would like to see Island Rec branch out in some new directions, such as programs for pre-schoolers and for parents of young children.

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