Talbott: 'Youth and sports can go hand-in-hand in a positive way' | Island Rec Commission candidate profile

Jeremy Talbott ... candidate for San Juan Parks and Recreation District Commission. - Scott Rasmussen
Jeremy Talbott ... candidate for San Juan Parks and Recreation District Commission.
— image credit: Scott Rasmussen

Jeremy Talbott learned early on the value that sports and recreation can play in a young person’s life.

It’s one of the reasons Talbott is making a first-ever run at elected office — to ensure the opportunities that he once had are available and accessible to the children and adults of San Juan Island. Lessons learned about team work, perseverance and playing by the rules can prove invaluable in a child’s formative years and later in life as well, he said.

“We lived about a block from the YMCA in Mount Vernon when I was growing up and both my parents worked,” he said. “I’d be there after school doing some kind of activity just about every afternoon. I pretty much grew up at the Y.”

Talbott is vying to become a commissioner of the San Juan Island Park and Recreation District, better known as Island Rec. Three of five positions on the Island Rec commission are on the Nov. 3 ballot. Jim Ricks and Scott Zehner are unopposed. Talbott and Amy Windrope are running for the position vacated by Ralph Hahn.

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

Talbott describes himself as a candidate of continuity rather than change.

“I have no agenda going into this, other than to make sure that the money the public entrusts to the park and recreation district is spent wisely,” he said.

Raised in Skagit Valley and a graduate of Mount Vernon High School, Talbott, 36, feels equally at home on San Juan Island, where his grandparents first put down roots in the 1950s.

He spent countless days at his grandparents’ home on the west side and relocated to the island in 1992 to help his father run the family business, the Wizard of Ooze. He took a job with the Port of Friday Harbor following the sale of that company several years ago and has been assistant harbormaster the past four years.

Married and the father of two daughters and two sons, Talbott developed a passion for community service early on, joining Skagit Valley Search and Rescue at the age of 14.

He’s a trained paramedic, a certified EMT, a Friday Harbor Fire Department captain, a state-licensed foster parent and a reserve deputy with the Sheriff’s Department. He regularly dons a costume to play the role of McGruff the Crime Dog and promote safety awareness among kindergarten and grade-school students.

“I like working with kids,” he said.

Since his decision to enter the race, Talbott has attended about a half-dozen commission meetings and believes that Island Rec and the commission are on the right track. He applauds the board for its commitment to step in and help the cash-strapped school district by using its taxing authority to finance high school sports. Island Rec is asking voters for a property tax of 17 cents per $1,000 of assessed property valuation; 7 cents would fund high school sports.

“I can’t stress enough how youth and sports can go hand-in-hand in a positive way,” he said. “For the youth of this island, I think it’s a win-win situation.”

Jeremy Talbott At A Glance
— Age: 36

— Family: Wife, Keri; four children, ages 13, 12, 9, 2.

— Home: Moved to Friday Harbor with his family in 1992.

— Career: Assistant harbormaster, Port of Friday Harbor, 2005-present; helped to operate family business, Wizard of Ooze, before its sale.

— Education: Graduate of Mount Vernon High School; earned paramedic/EMT certificate, University of Alabama, 1995; earned EMT certificate at Central Arizona Community College, 1993.

— Community service: Friday Harbor Fire Department captain, San Juan Island EMT, Sheriff’s Department reserve deputy, state-licensed foster parent.

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