Election 2012

The News Tribune

The News Tribune's Voter Guide

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You'll be able to compare candidates side-by-side on experience, endorsements and where they stand on issues. You can then check your choice and move on to the next race. At the end, you can print out or email yourself a ballot cheat sheet with your choices checked to take with you to the "polls" (in our case likely your kitchen table.) The guide will work on your desktop and laptop, but also a tablet or smartphone.

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King County Sheriff

Choose two candidates from below to compare.
  • Candidate picture

    Steve Strachan (N) King County Sheriff

  • Candidate picture

    John Urquhart (N) King County Sheriff's Office

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Biographical Information

How do you stand on drug legalization or decriminalization? Do you support Initiative 502, which seeks to legalize marijuana in Washington state? Why or why not?

Given concerns over use of force and officer-involved shootings how would you keep the office accountable to the public and the law?

What are your top three priorities for law enforcement in the county and how would your administration reflect them?

What qualifies you to be sheriff?

Personal Statement

Campaign Phone (206) 446-1403
Incumbent? (Y/N) YES
Occupation King County Sheriff
City/Community of Residence Kent, WA
Education Sheriff Strachan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of Minnesota, and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Minnesota State University, Mankato.
Civic/Political Experience Political: Minnesota State House of Representatives in 2002 to 2004 City Council Member for Farmington, Minnesota from 1996 to 2002 Civic: Past Chair of the King County Chiefs of Police Association, Co-Chair of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs Correction Committee, and was appointed by Governor Christine Gregoire to the Washington Auto Theft Prevention Authority. Service Organizations: Kent Rotary President, board member for Kent Youth and Family Services, as well as a member of the international Association of Chiefs of Police.
Endorsements Law Enforcement Leaders and Organizations: Former King County Sheriff Sue Rahr; Snohomish Sheriff Jon Lovick; Former King County Sheriff Jim Montgomery; Auburn Police Chief Bob Lee; Kirkland Police Chief Eric Olsen; Issaquah Police Chief Paul Ayers; Renton Police Chief Kevin Milosevich; Kent Police Chief Ken Thomas; Retired Auburn Police Chief Jim Kelly; Retired Deputy Police Chief Mike Painter; Retired Des Moines Police Chief Roger Baker; Kent Police Officers Association King County and Local Leaders: King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg; Seattle Council Member Tim Burgess; Kent School Board Member Jim Berrios; Kent Council President Dennis Higgins; Kent Council Member Bill Boyce; Kent Council Member Dana Ralph; Kent Council Member Les Thomas; Kent City Attorney Tom Brubaker; Snoqualmie Mayor Matthew Larson; Maple Valley Councilmember Sean Kelly; Maple Valley Mayor Bill Allison; Maple Valley Deputy Mayor Victoria Laise Jonas; Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove, 33rd District (D); Washington State Senator Karen Keiser, 33rd District (D); Bellevue City Council Member Claudia Balducci; Former Kent Council Member Ron Harmon; Dr. Israel Vela, Kent School District Executive Director Community Leaders: Kai Boiser, Auburn resident and active in the Pacific Islander community; Ezra Teshome, Businessman, Rotary International winner of World Citizen 2010 and active in the Ethiopian Community, Seattle; Madhu and Madhuri Kavikondala, active in the East Indian Community; Ed and Florence Admunsen, Kent; Barbara Phillips, Kent community leader; Harpreet Gill, Kent business owner and active in the East Indian Community; Pastor Neshella and Marvin Mitchell, Community Leader Kent; Roberto Gonzalez, owner of Mexico Lindo, Kent; Anil Abraham, Auburn businessman Law Enforcement Officers and Employees: Joe Cimaomo, Kent Reserve Police Officer; Sara Wood, Kent Police Department; Fae Brooks, Retired King County Command Staff; Gary Fox, Retired Kent Police Officer
I have taken the position for a long time, including my time as the Chief in Kent, that our ambiguous and confusing laws regarding marijuana are not helpful to law enforcement. I strongly support greater clarity in our marijuana regulatory laws. I also believe that medical marijuana has benefits for many patients. I therefore support any initiative that will increase clarity.
Given recent high-profile incidents involving guns and people with mental illness issues, we need to have a public conversation about mental health. Gun laws as they currently exist are adequate, but enforcement continues to be a challenge. We will confront these challenges by consistently looking for ways to reduce the number of stolen guns finding their way back onto the streets.
Issue 1 - We’ve got to be more efficient. We need to work collaboratively and partner with local agencies to find ways to reduce cost based on economies of scale; Issue 2 - We have to be transparent, open to better ideas and ready to be more accountable; and Issue 3 - Instilling humility as a core value in the Sheriff's Office; we are community oriented and serve the citizens of King County.
I have 30 years of law enforcement experience with the last 9 years in executive leadership roles such as Police Chief, Deputy Sheriff and Sheriff. I served as the Shop Stewart for my police union and was a legislator in Minnesota prior to his first executive position as Police Chief. I have the breadth of experience that makes me uniquely qualified for the position of King County Sheriff.
My vision for the King County Sheriff’s department – work efficiently with the resources I have and ensure that my deputies are trained to reduce crime in King County communities. My goal is to minimize crime so that citizens feel safe in King County. Community concerns are our central focus; my expectations for every deputy is to demonstrate humility and professionalism in every call.
Party (if other) Non-partisan
Campaign Phone (206) 618-5504
Age 66
Incumbent? (Y/N) There is no incumbent, it is an open seat.
Occupation King County Sheriff's Office
City/Community of Residence Mercer Island, WA
Education I received my Bachelor's Degree from the University of Washington School of Business. I graduated from Ingraham High School in Seattle.
Civic/Political Experience For 12 years I volunteered as a reserve deputy before joining the Sheriff's Office full time. I currently serve as the President of the S.H.E.R.I.F.F. Fund, a non-profit dedicated to providing cash grants to members of the criminal justice community with a short-term need due to unforeseen life circumstances.
Endorsements I have been endorsed by a bipartisan coalition of public safety and policy leaders including former US Attorney John McKay; Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick; Senator Adam Kline, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee; and Rep. Chris Hurst, Chair of the House Public Safety Committee. Additionally, I have been endorsed by both the King County Democrats and the Mainstream Republicans of Washington. A full list of my endorsements may be found at www.johnforsheriff.com/endorsements.
As a former narcotics detective, I know that marijuana prohibition is both costly and ineffective. I support I-502 for the safety of our neighborhoods. I want to get marijuana dispensaries – magnets for violent crime – away from residential homes. It's also important for Washington to send a message to the federal government that marijuana should not be a Schedule I Drug alongside heroin and LSD.
I will enforce our policy manual as written. Officer-involved shootings must be reviewed within 30 days after the end of the investigation, or after the inquest if the shooting was fatal. Under the current leadership, 4 such shootings in 2011 were not reviewed until May of 2012, and only after I made an issue of them. One took over a year to review. I also plan to form a Use-of-Force Review Board.
My campaign is based on leadership, accountability, and transparency. Law enforcement in the Northwest is at a crossroads. I don't want the Sheriff's Office to go down the road where it loses the support of the communities where it polices. This can be prevented with the kind of leadership that instills accountability throughout the ranks. I will hold commanders to the same standards as deputies.
I have been a commissioned police officer for 36 years, the last 24 full-time with the Sheriff's Office. I have been a patrol officer, master police officer, field training officer, patrol sergeant, vice & narcotics detective, and Sheriff's spokesman. I have investigated everything from property crimes to homicides. Before joining KCSO, I owned a successful business in Bellevue with 60+ employees.
I left the Sheriff's Office early this year after serving my community for 36 years as a police officer. My decision to run for Sheriff is based on concerns from individuals of nearly every rank in the Sheriff's Office. We are headed down the wrong road, and it's not because the deputies don't care. With the proper leadership, the Sheriff's Office can retain its excellence. I will provide this.