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Enumclaw's Ennis seeking appointment

Mike Ennis -
Mike Ennis
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By Kevin Hanson, The Courier-Herald

Mike Ennis, a member of the Enumclaw City Council, is hoping to take his influence to the King County level.

Ennis announced last week his desire to be appointed to the existing vacancy on the 13-member King County Council. The opening was created by the mid-April death of longtime councilmember Kent Pullen.

Ennis is the second Enumclaw resident to lobby for the County Council appointment. Also in the running is Steve Hammond, a property rights activist, minister at Cornerstone Bible Church and one-time candidate for the state Legislature.

Ennis, who works in Olympia as an in-court clerk for the Thurston County District Court, is a highly political creature, going back to his days at the University of Washington, where he earned a bachelor's degree in political science. As an undergrad, he was chosen for an Olympia internship and worked in the office of Sen. Dino Rossi during the 2000 session. From there he moved to a post with then-Sen. Slade Gorton's Bellevue office, then was asked by the state Republican Party to work on several election campaigns, including Gorton's.

After Gorton was ousted, Ennis returned to Olympia and worked for Rossi during the 2001 session. He also served as treasurer for Bob Young's successful re-election campaign in Bonney Lake.

Ennis, 29, was elected to the Enumclaw City Council in the fall of 2001 and began serving Jan. 1, 2002.

Within the Republican Party, Ennis is now chairman of the King County portion of the 31st Legislative District. "Through my contacts there and my work with the city, it just made sense to run," Ennis said, asked why he's seeking the King County post.

Also, he cites his experience working with Pullen on successfully fighting a tax measure that would have increased utility taxes on those living in incorporated cities, such as Enumclaw.

So far, eight Republicans appear to be in the running for the King County Council's Ninth District seat. Aside from Ennis and Hammond, the candidates are former state Sen. Ray Schow; former state Reps. Suzette Cooke, Phil Fortunato and Les Thomas; Orin Wells; and David Gleason.

The field will be narrowed considerably May 31, when Republican precinct committee officers from the Ninth District gather at Sequoia Junior High School in Kent. Candidates will be invited to make their pitch at that meeting, and the PCOs will then announce three finalists, in order of preference. The 12 members of the County Council will choose a replacement from the three, with no obligation to pick the party's preference.

That's exactly what happened in 2001, when the council needed to fill the vacancy created when Chris Vance stepped down. Republican PCOs named Sen. Pam Roach as their top choice, but the full council, with a Democratic majority (which it still has) selected Thomas. He then lost to Julia Patterson in a fall election.

Again, the same scenario exists. Whoever is appointed to fill Pullen's Ninth District seat will have to run in the fall, with the winner of that election filling out the term, which expires in 2005.

Kevin Hanson can be reached at khanson@courierherald.com

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