Newly-elected, ready to work for you

By Tye Menser, Thurston County Commissioner-Elect

Thank you, Thurston County voters, for putting your trust in me.

Over the course of this year’s election campaign, I appreciated the opportunity to meet so many residents of the county, from Jubilee to Yelm to Rochester to Steamboat Island. I learned from each of you, and I am eager to start work as your new County Commissioner.

I also learned how much important work is being done by so many community groups on major issues like homelessness and economic development. I expect to be a partner with these groups as we move forward together to solve problems in Thurston County.

I also want to thank Bud Blake, the incumbent Commissioner, for his four years of dedicated service to Thurston County. The closeness of the vote was a reflection that both campaigns had messages that were important to voters. I will be mindful of this as I move forward to help find solutions to important problems the County faces.

Ultimately, I believe voters were looking for diversity and balance on the County Commission. I represent that diversity — in age, professional background, and political philosophy. Now that the campaign has ended, it is time to focus on what unites us. As the only Democrat on the Commission, I expect to be on the losing end of some votes. I also expect that my new colleagues and I will find common ground as we work together on behalf of Thurston County residents.

Big challenges lie ahead:

Water quality: More than half of our lakes and rivers have severely degraded water quality. Clean water is essential to public health and a healthy environment. We must do all we can to clean up and protect surface waters from pollution caused by stormwater runoff and failing septic systems.

Affordable housing: The county cannot solve the current housing crisis without the aid of our urban cities, where the problems are greatest. I am meeting with the mayors of Olympia, Lacey, and Tumwater to discuss how we can better work together on a countywide approach to housing policy. Commissioners must do a better job of collaborating with city governments.

Budget responsibility: Although the new budget will have been adopted by the time I take office in January, I have closely watched budget deliberations and I will advocate for spending within the county’s means and re-building reserves, even when that results in hard choices.

A new courthouse: It’s not a question of if we should replace the existing courthouse, but when. Its buildings are overcrowded and dilapidated. The challenge will be where to build the new courthouse and how to manage costs.

Comprehensive plan update: Commissioners are updating the comprehensive plan, which charts a 20-year course for how and where the County will grow. The decisions we make will have long-lasting effects, particularly on fragile South County prairies and agricultural lands.

There’s hard work to be done. I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and joining Commissioners Hutchings and Edwards in working on behalf of all Thurston County residents. Running for public office is both exhilarating and humbling. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you.

County Commissioner-Elect Tye Menser will take the oath of office in late December. His four-year term begins Jan. 1, 2019.

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Thank you, Thurston County!

The votes have been counted, my opponent has conceded, and we have been successful in our effort to win a seat on the Thurston County Commission. I want to personally thank the Thurston County voters — and all of my campaign volunteers and supporters — we could not have done this without all of you.

I would also like to thank Bud Blake for a positive campaign, and for his four years of dedicated service to the citizens of Thurston County. The close vote was a reflection that both campaigns had messages that were important to voters, and I will be mindful of this as I move forward to help find solutions to important problems facing the County.

We have much work to do as we move forward: balancing the budget, improving water quality, building up mental health treatment services, and planning for a 40% population increase. I pledge to work diligently with public and private partners, and my fellow Commissioners, to ensure we bring a forward-thinking approach to meeting these challenges. I am ready and excited to get to work.

Thank you, Thurston County!!

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Tye Menser on Saturday Morning Conversations with Dick Pust

Tye Menser, Democratic candidate for Thurston County Commission, talks with Dick Pust on Saturday Morning Conversations. He talks about his background, why he loves Thurston County, and how he wants to help Thurston County prepare for its future.

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Fuse Washington Progressive Voters Guide – Statement About Misleading Mailer

I appreciate Fuse Washington’s clear statement about their endorsement in this race. Let’s put a progressive voice back on our County Commission! – Tye

“This week, Republican operatives here in Washington sent fake Fuse-branded mailers, trying to intentionally mislead voters into voting for write-in candidates in close races. Don’t be fooled—Fuse strongly supports Tye Menser for Thurston County Commission and we are not supporting any write-in candidates. 

More than 400,000 Washingtonians have already filled out their ballot and thousands more will do it today. Whether you’re voting for living wages, racial justice, women’s health, our environment, or our kids’ future, the choices we make will impact our state for years to come.

… The 2018 Progressive Voters Guide (is) your ticket to highly-informed voting based on progressive values. If you have already fulfilled your civic duty to vote, please take 2 minutes now to share this guide so that your friends and family also have the information they need to cast an informed vote.

All ballots must be postmarked or placed in a drop box by 8pm on Tuesday, November 6. You can find your closest drop box here:

Thanks for all that you do (especially voting),

Jamielyn and the entire team at Fuse”

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Letter to the Editor – Why I support Menser for County Commissioner

The Olympian – October 25, 2018


I’m supporting Tye Menser for the District 3 Thurston County Commission seat.

As Mayor Pro Tem of Tumwater, I know the importance of communication and positive working relationships between our cities and county government. Unfortunately, those relationships have become strained under the leadership of the incumbent commissioner.

Local governments must work together to solve big regional issues, such as affordable housing, homelessness, transportation and climate change. Tye understands that. Unlike the current incumbent’s lack of consensus building and transparency, Tye knows that creating consensus and maintaining relationships is essential to establishing trust. Without trust and openness, intergovernmental relations break down quickly.

When governments negotiate with one another, it’s not about “I win, you lose.” It’s about “what can we accomplish together?” Tye, who has developed strong negotiation skills as a defense attorney, embraces that concept. The incumbent commissioner? Not so much.

We have in Tye Menser a Harvard graduate with a head – and heart – for government, a man who genuinely cares about people and protecting our quality of life in Thurston County.

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Olympian Editorial Board Endorses Tye Menser

The Olympian – October 23, 2018


… “Olympia has been crying out for more county leadership on a public health emergency that is more regional than local in nature. More importantly, Menser has been clearest — for longer — about that need. He may be better suited to build the regional approach to fighting homelessness than Blake.”

… “Menser also brings superior knowledge of — and concern for — environmental protection in a time of heavy population growth. He is badly needed on the commission to bring a counter-balance to the conservative- or right-leaning commission over the next four years that, like Blake, sees land-use deregulation as the main way to promote the local economy.

“Menser is also bright, articulate and transparent and served on a regional water advisory board that helped him grasp the complexities of that tricky environmental policy arena.”

…”But as we look ahead at a fast-growing county that borders Puget Sound, Menser is the one more likely to protect the environment as our county absorbs a predicted 100,000 new residents over the next few decades. We trust Menser to hold firm on urban growth boundaries that steer most growth into core areas rather than open up large pockets of land outside the county’s urban growth areas. If elected, Menser can serve as a better minority voice for moderation if the conservative commission majority goes too far in the direction of deregulation.”

“Menser also has experience in criminal defense, which is hugely valuable for a county whose general fund budget is given over heavily to the cost of jails, courts, and other criminal justice-related activities. Looking for ways to get justice while looking for efficiencies makes a lot of sense.”

“And Menser is proving to be more accurate — or less prone to offering rose-colored assessments — about the county’s budget deficits. Reserves are running well below the targets set by the county budget director, but they have gotten better this year due to a roaring economy and heavier than expected sales tax revenues.”

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Statement from Melissa Denton on misleading mailer

“On Saturday, I learned that some of my friends had received a mailed brochure that misuses my name and tries to confuse everyone who might consider themselves progressive. The mailer also appears to be intended to annoy and energize those who dislike progressives and particular politicians. All of us define progressive and other political identity words differently.

The sole clearly intended beneficiary of the mailer, paid for by Republican money, is Bud Blake. The mailer, which is paid for by the same kind of Republicans who support his campaign.

In the middle of January, I had lunch with E.J. Zita to talk with her about my interest in possibly running for Thurston County Commissioner. At the end of our discussion, she mentioned that she had heard of another person who was interested in running as a Democrat. She said he is a lawyer and she thought his name was Tye, but she had not met him yet. That was the first I had heard that Tye might be planning to run and I already knew him from being lawyers together in this community. A week or so later, Zita called me and said that she is supporting Tye’s candidacy and she has done so ever since.

Several people who know me have reached out about this brochure because my name is on it. The author of that brochure did not have my permission to use my name and they wrote misleading things about me as well as about Tye and Zita. I object to the misuse of my name and to the misleading statements on this very dirty politics document. It is offensive in the extreme and I hope that the Public Disclosure Commission complaint already made against the author is successful.

As I said when I conceded the close race where the only Republican, Bud, and the only other Democrat, Tye, got more votes than me, I fully support Tye in his race to be our next County Commissioner. He cares about all of the people in our county and about our environment and our economic success and preserving the good things about our way of life here. Please vote for Tye. Don’t let these dirty politics succeed in our community. We deserve better. We deserve Tye.”

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Mailer in Thurston County commission race called misleading — by the person it claims to support

The Olympian – October 20, 2018

E.J. Zita: “I do want to formally state that this flier is fake, that Tye Menser is the progressive candidate and I support Tye Menser,” Zita told The Olympian on Saturday. “And I’m dismayed that the far right is doing this dishonest campaign.… This is anti-democratic.”

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Olympia Standard Podcast – Thurston County Commissioner Race

Check out The Olympia Standard podcast’s interview with Thurston County Commissioner candidates Bud Blake and Tye Menser on issues such as the budget, the environment, homelessness, and the structure of county government.

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22 days until Election Day!

This is your chance to help in the final days before the most important election in our county…

Our strategy is to get out the vote through mailers, doorbelling, phone banking and waving signs on specific corners.

Join us for…

Our Revolution Sponsored Phone and Text Banking Sessions for Tye

Can we have your Tuesday evenings in October?

    • Tuesday October 16, from 5:30 – 8:00 pm
    • Tuesday, October 23, from 5:30 – 8:00 pm
    • Tuesday, October 30, from 5:30 – 8:00 pm
    • Sunday, November 4, from 4:30 – 7:00 pm

Where: Lisa Parshley’s house at 1014 4th Ave. E., Olympia (The house west of the 7-Eleven at the corner of 4th Ave. and Eastside St.)
Intro and training at 5:30 and 6 pm
Easy phone calls to known progressive voters
Each caller needs to have a cell phone and a computer
RSVP Nicolette Oliver at

This is the END Run folks!!

Sign Waving in Lacey and Olympia

Join us on the next three Friday nights, the Monday before the election, and Election night to wave signs at commuters.

Our Priority Locations are in Lacey:
(We’ll have banners and signs there for you)

  1. Martin Way and Marvin Road – southeast corner by Key Bank
  2. College Street and Pacific Avenue – northeast corner by Pints and Quarts
  3. Plum Street and Union Avenue
    (Please bring your own yard signs or contact us for some prior to that evening.)

Dates and times:

  • Friday, October 19, 4:30 – 6 pm
  • Friday October 26, 4:30 – 6 pm
  • Friday, November 2, 4:30 – 6 pm
  • Monday, November 5, 4:30 – dark
  • Tuesday, November 6, 4:00 – 5pm at 4th Avenue Bridge


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Tye’s on Your Side

We'll get the county's finances back in the black, create a fair balance between conservation and property rights, and save you time and money by solving the gopher habitat issue once and for all!

Tye Menser will bring service, stewardship, and solutions to the County Commission.

As your County Commissioner, I will…

Restore our financial health. Just two years ago, we were blessed with a budget surplus. Since then, commissioners have been spending through our rainy-day fund. This mismanagement cripples the county’s ability to provide you essential services, like fast law-enforcement response. I will bring financial responsibility back to Thurston County!

Promote efficiency and solve problems. Thurston County often works at cross-purposes with cities on key issues like housing and business development. I will ensure the county works efficiently with our communities on behalf of all residents.

Solve the pocket gopher problem. The endangered Mazama pocket gopher has been a thorn in the side of property owners for years. Under my opponent’s leadership, commissioners dragged out a losing battle with the federal government over creating a conservation plan. I will see that a workable gopher plan finally gets done and solves this problem forever!

Tye has real expertise, and brings intelligence and enthusiasm for open, effective government. Tye has a degree in Government from Harvard and a law degree from the University of California at Berkeley. For 20 years he has been a criminal defense and family law attorney, and his work includes public defense for the citizens of Thurston County. He also plays banjo with the Oly Mountain Boys bluegrass band.

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Tye for Thurston on the Radio

Listen for these radio spots on your dial throughout this month!

Tumwater Mayor Pete Kmet discusses why he supports Tye Menser for Thurston County Commissioner.

Tye Menser asks for your vote for Thurston County Commissioner, and discusses his commitment to responsible spending, environmental protection, restorative justice, planned growth, and helping those who need it most.

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Cast your ballot for Tye Menser for county commissioner

The Olympian – October 13, 2018


It’s not often that you come across someone with intelligence, integrity, a strong work ethic, and a kind heart who’s willing to run for public office. We’re lucky to have such a person step up to run for Thurston County Commissioner: Tye Menser, a Democrat.

I have met Tye on several occasions. You might think a Harvard-educated lawyer would have his nose in the air. Not Tye. He’s down-to-earth, and he sincerely cares about people.

Tye is running to restore balance to the County Commission, which currently consists of three conservatives with military and law enforcement backgrounds. They’re Republicans who call themselves “Independents,” and they’re bent on rolling back environmental protections and restrictions on development in the rural south county.

Washington has a Growth Management Act to protect rural areas from urban sprawl. The current commissioners believe the rural south is the economic engine of Thurston County. They see nothing wrong with plopping a big box store and large-scale housing developments in a rural area without the necessary infrastructure (roads built for high traffic volume, schools, utilities) to serve them.

The current commissioners talk a good game, but that’s all they offer: talk. Elect Tye Menser, and you’ll get a commissioner with the smarts and the heart to get the job done.

Be sure to vote. Your ballot is due by Nov. 6.

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Letter to the Editor – Time to pay attention to the County Commissioner election

The Olympian – October 12, 2018


The race for Thurston County Commissioner this November will have lasting impacts on our quality of life.

Thurston County has recently begun updating key plans and policies that direct how our natural resources and environment will be protected in the face of rapid population growth projected for our county. Major updates are underway for our Comprehensive Plan, and the Shoreline Master Program, which governs how local waters are protected. Will urban/suburban development be allowed to expand into our rural areas? Will there be enough clean water to support new residential growth, local farms, and fish habitat? The newly elected commissioner will be making critical decisions on these and other issues in 2019 and beyond.

Thurston County has always been a leader in managing growth and protecting our environment. The County has historically used a robust citizen involvement process in planning for our future. However, under this Board, we have seen an erosion of public outreach, involvement and information sharing. The Board recently placed on hold community and stakeholder groups they created to help guide the Shoreline Program update. Bud Blake and fellow commissioners have instead pushed forward an accelerated review schedule of a proposal that would roll back some current shoreline protections.

Who do you want as a decision-maker for our county’s future? I believe Democrat Tye Menser has the values, background, and experience to best serve the citizens as County Commissioner. Join me in voting for Tye!

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Video Voters Guide

Thurston Community Media’s Video Voter’s Guide statement from Tye Menser, Democratic candidate for Thurston County Commissioner.

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Tye Will Serve Military Families

Rental rates are skyrocketing in Thurston County. As a result, over a third of our families face losing their homes.

Military and civilian families struggle economically. Poverty is spiking among households with children, and we have more than 1,600 homeless students in our schools. Our jail is overcrowded because we don’t have adequate mental health and addiction treatment resources in our community. Our county needs more employment opportunities that support living wages, and promote economic prosperity at all levels and stages of career development. We can and must do better for our working families!

Service: I’ll repair strained relationships with our cities to solve major regional social issues and facilitate community consensus.
Stewardship: I’ll renew responsible financial management, enhance water quality, and protect agricultural land.
Solutions: I’ll lead the county in implementing its vision for a sustainable Thurston.

I will work collaboratively with public and private partners to create long-term solutions to the challenges our young people and young families face. I’ve spent two decades working with the most vulnerable community members through my public defense work. I helped my clients get back on their feet after struggles with a variety of life challenges.

I want to put my experience to work for you, and help create policies that will lend a hand to our working families and those seeking work. Vote for me so I can create solutions that serve you!

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League of Women Voters Candidate Forum

The League of Women Voters of Thurston County Candidate Forum for the 2018 County Commission race is now available online! Thank you to the League for hosting this important conversation.

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We’re in the home stretch!

It’s just one month from the election! You can make a real difference and put a progressive Democrat on the Thurston Board of County Commissioners. Let’s make it happen!

Doorbelling/Lit Drop Picnic
Saturday, September 29, 2018

Host: Tye Menser and his campaign team
Time: 11:30 am – 1:30 pm
Where: William Bush Park
4400 Chardonnay Dr SE
Lacey, WA
(near Yelm Highway & Corporate Center Dr SE)

Please come enjoy food, political camaraderie and help Tye cover ground in Lacey with doorbelling and/or a lit drop if no one answers the door.

Our Revolution Sponsored Phone and Text Banking Sessions for Tye

Can we have your Tuesday evenings in October?

  • Tuesday, October 9 (5:30 – 8:00 pm)
  • Tuesday October 16 (5:30 – 8:00 pm)
  • Tuesday, October 23 (5:30 – 8:00 pm)
  • Tuesday, October 30 (5:30 – 8:00 pm)
  • Sunday, November, 4 (4:30 – 7:00 pm)

Where: Lisa Parshley’s house at 1014 4th Ave. E., Olympia (The house west of the 7-Eleven at the corner of 4th Ave. and Eastside St.)
Intro and training at 5:30 and 6 pm
Easy phone calls to known progressive voters
Each caller needs to have a cell phone and a computer
RSVP Nicolette Oliver at

Endorsement news!
The mayors of Tumwater, Olympia, and Lacey have endorsed Tye Menser for Thurston County Commissioner!

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September Meet & Greets and Volunteering Opportunities for TYE!

Come Out and Join Tye – Let’s take this Campaign Over the Finish Line!

We’ve got just about two months left and our success depends on you, literally!

Lacey Area Meet and Greet Fundraiser
Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Hosts: Sandra and Fred Romero
Time: 5:00 – 7:00 pm
Location: 2023 Westlake Dr SE
Lacey WA 98503
RSVP: 360-357-8131

Yelm Area Meet and Greet Fundraiser
Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Hosts: Steve Kline
Time: 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Location: Yelm Community Center
301 2nd Street
Yelm, WA 98503

Doorbelling/Lit Drop Picnic!
Saturday, September 29, 2018

Host: Tye Menser and his campaign team
Time: 11:30 am – 1:30 pm
Where: William Bush Park
4400 Chardonnay Dr SE
(near Yelm Highway & Corporate Center Dr SE)
Lacey, WA

Please come enjoy food, political camaraderie and help Tye cover ground in Lacey with doorbelling and/or a lit drop if no one answers the door.

Make this one YOUR Priority!

Tye wants to mobilize community resources to solve problems, not just monitor them.

He believes we can plan for growth, use innovative approaches to criminal justice that will save money, and tackle homelessness and addiction/mental health issues.

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Tye Won the Primary – On to November!

Thank YOU for turning out big time in the primary!

Tye is one of the two finalists in the primary and will go head to head with the incumbent in November.

Can you see that large blue wave on the horizon? We can!

Let’s celebrate!

Come out and bask in our victory. Share an evening of fun, food, politics and jazz provided by The Committee, featuring Riley McLaughlin on keys, Donna Andrews on vocals, and Fred Kellogg on bass.

Hosted by: Nathaniel and Kathy Jones
When: Friday, August 17, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Where: 3530 Morse Merryman Road SE, Olympia, 98501

We’re going to need your help this fall

Think about giving us some of your time, money or both. A vibrant democracy depends on you.

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Statement from Melissa Denton

I have the utmost respect for my legal colleague and friend, Melissa Denton, who ran a good campaign and helped me spread the message that Thurston County needs change. I am humbled to have her support and pledge to give everything I have towards putting a Democrat back on the County Commission. – Tye

Statement from Melissa Denton:

“I am conceding the race. With the additional votes counted tonight, the math says that I will not be one of the top two candidates for County Commissioner. I am so very grateful for the support from so many loving people in this election. Most of the supporters who have helped me are new to politics and yet they worked very hard. Being in six parades was fun!

To those who supported me and are disappointed that I did not win, I sure do feel your pain. Let’s turn the energy from that disappointment into determination to help Tye Menser become the next Thurston County Commissioner for District 3. Tye and I have shown the utmost respect to each other during this campaign, despite each striving very hard to win more votes. We are both professionals and have always faced off courteously, before in the courtroom, and now on the ‘battlefield of politics’.

The relationship that I’ve had with Tye during this tough election is proof that he will be able to work well even when he disagrees with others. He has my support and advice when he wants it. Tye will work productively with the other commissioners, even though they have become used to having our county under the control of three Republicans who call themselves Independents.

Tye Menser will respect and honorably represent all of our Thurston County neighbors as our next County Commissioner for District 3. I ask you to join me in working hard to help him win this election.”

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Letter to the Editor – Thurston County commissioner primary choice easy

The Olympian – August 1, 2018

Friday’s editorial noted that Commissioner Bud Blake knows less about the county budget than challenger Tye Menser and that Blake and his ‘Independent’ conservative seatmates have been spending down the reserves since assuming office.

The prior Board of Commissioners — all Democrats — did the hard work rebuilding a sustainable county budget after the financial implosion of 2008-2009, only to have these three conservatives plow through the county reserve fund. “(Tye) Menser demonstrates a better grasp of the money issue than Denton or Blake,” the endorsement editorial said.

Menser has the “right stuff.” His education, experience and dedication to getting it right will serve our county well. Tye Menser gets my vote now and in November.

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Letter to the Editor – County commissioners inaccurately labeled ‘independent’

On paper, we have three “independent” Thurston County commissioners. Don’t be fooled — they’re all Republicans. Their campaign donor lists should convince you of that. Led by Bud Blake, the commission has lurched from one foolhardy decision to another.

Take the Mazama pocket gopher issue. Blake’s predecessors were on a steady path toward completing a habitat conservation plan that would have enabled many south county land owners to develop their property without multiple costly inspections for signs of gopher activity and delays in issuing permits.

When Republicans took over the commission in 2016, they derailed work on the plan. Now, with the 2018 elections looming, Blake and company suddenly see the light and are furiously working on a habitat conservation plan. If you own property in gopher habitat, these commissioners have needlessly cost you considerable time and money.

Voters have an opportunity this year to dump Blake and send a strong message to the other two commissioners. Luckily, a terrific candidate has stepped up to take him on: Tye Menser.

Tye has impressive credentials (graduated with honors from Harvard, law degree from University of California-Berkeley, a 20-year legal career). Equally impressive are his quick grasp of complex issues, strong work ethic, and commitment to ensuring a fair balance between property rights and environmental protections.

I’m voting for Tye Menser on Aug. 7. So should you!

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Letter to the Editor – Not just a candidate for Democrats

The Olympian – July 28, 2018

Contrary to what a previous writer stated about Democrats backing the wrong candidate, Tye Menser may be a Democrat but he is working for all Thurston County residents, not simply Democrats. Voters need to know that Tye has dedicated his life to providing justice to under-served families and communities as a lawyer. He is very modest about his credentials as a Harvard and University of California Berkeley graduate and the honesty and character he shows.

Tye has shown me that he is highly intelligent, knows the issues facing the county and wants to serve the public’s interest, not just the business community and real estate developers. He has the courage and strength to stand up to those whose myopic vision does not serve the needs of the majority of Thurston County residents. He will be an excellent commissioner for Thurston County because he is a man of strong and ethical character. As a retired professor of public administration, I find it refreshing to encounter an ethnical and highly capable public servant as Tye Menser, and I urge county voters to join me in backing him against the establishment.

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Olympian Editorial Board Endorsement

The Olympian – July 27, 2018


“Our county needs more diverse representation.”

… “Samuel ‘Tye’ Menser looks the most ready for the job. He is a Democrat and a defense lawyer. The California native has moved around, working for a time in Alaska, and he holds degrees from Harvard University and the University of California.”

… “Menser wields a policy wonk’s grasp of details. Our county government could use a commissioner more attuned to policy ins-and-outs and less apt to gloss over the impacts of county decisions.”

… “None of the leading candidates is advocating for new taxes, but Menser demonstrates a better grasp of the money issue than Denton or Blake.”

… “Based on interviews, Menser sounds most willing to bring cities and the county together in a more regional approach to improving housing affordability and helping the homeless.”

… “Bud Blake and Tye Menser offer voters a clear choice in November — between one candidate who is more conservative and one who is more liberal. The debate their differences trigger is one our county voters need to have.”

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