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Irons will run against Sims for county executive seat this fall

SEATTLE - King County Councilman David Irons, a Sammamish Republican who was redistricted out of a job, will run against Ron Sims for county executive this fall.

Irons made his formal announcement on March 12 in Kent and Seattle.

Irons has the support of many voters in rural areas who have derided Sims for the county's new Critical Areas Ordinances (CAO).

He said the county can protect salmon and the environment without shutting down farms or making life untenable for rural residents.

Sims, a Democrat, has about $180,000 raised for his campaign for a third term. He was appointed in 1997 after Gary Locke was elected governor.

Irons has the backing of the county Republican Party and likely won't face a primary foe.

"David is going to be our candidate," said the party's chairman, Michael Young. "The voters are going to be given a clear choice on how the county should be run and managed."

Irons is aiming squarely at Sims' management of county government and his ability to deliver services.

"We have a great opportunity to bring back trust in government and work on accountability," Irons said.

For example, he has spoken with builders who would rather put up homes in Snohomish or Pierce counties than apply for permits through the county's Department of Development and Environmental Services.

Irons was a champion of reducing the council's size from 13 to nine members, but his position on the issue likely led to the dismantling of his 12th District. He has served on the council for six years, twice defeating Brian Derdowski, who ran as a Republican and as a Democrat.

Redistricting this year put Irons in Kathy Lambert's district. However, he has chosen not to run against his good friend and political ally.

As a county councilman, Irons has worked mostly on policy matters. However, he touts his years of management experience as the owner of a telecommunications company.

He served for eight years on the Issaquah School Board.

He said his background in management and customer service will resonate with voters.

"We aren't going to play games," he said. "We are going to implement the laws of the land."

Irons has almost no money for a campaign, but he said he has never had a problem raising contributions. He wouldn't give an exact figure, but he's expecting to have to raise a "significant amount" of money.

The race will have statewide importance, he said, in part because of the recent environmental legislation adopted by the Democratically controlled council.

"This is everything about what I bring to the table as far as core beliefs," he said.

Dean Radford can be reached at dean.radford@kingcountyjournal.com or (253) 872-6719.

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