Shepherd actually has I Like Mike buttons made, but I forgot to take a picture of one at breakfast. My bad.

Shepherd actually has I Like Mike buttons made, but I forgot to take a picture of one at breakfast. My bad.

The celebrity profile canon is rife with omelet anecdotes and edible metaphors from journalists grasping for the reveling and enduring in their hour with the rich and famous. But Mike Shepherd is not a celebrity. He’s a veteran of Bremerton City Council, a $12,000-a-year gig he’s held since 1997. And if gets his way in November, he’ll be our next mayor ($117,671). If he gets his way at breakfast, he’ll get an English muffin.

The latter proved to be no problem Sunday morning at West Bremerton’s Hi-Lo’s 15th Street Cafe. But before he takes the mayor’s office and its $100 view, Shepherd has to convince Bremerton voters that Cary Bozeman, the man who presided over the construction of a new convention center, fountain park, and waterfront condos doesn’t deserve another four years.

Shepherd doesn’t deny the success of the above-mentioned development downtown. But he does believe the condos were built too high and expensive, pricing out most Bremertonians. All the while the mayor, he says, lost sight of what the community really needed: fast, passenger-only ferry service.

“We’re the people who run the restaurants (in Seattle), and run the parks. We’re the waiters, we’re the nurses,” Shepherd said, referencing a woman he’d exchanged words with minutes earlier who is a nurse at Swedish. “When we have to go to work, we’re really dependent on those ferries.”

So, what should the City of Bremerton, and, more specifically the mayor, have done to rectify the passenger-only situation?

“If we had spent as much time with the state legislature and King County legislators explaining how important it was to them, we may have some progress right now,” he said between sips of coffee from a wink-faced Baileys mug. “Vashon got a passenger-only ferry by metro because (they) worked with them.”

Shepherd has seven more months to make his case. His strategy, going up against an incumbent with a record of results, is to go door-to-door talking to the residents he says he relates to more than Bozeman. Spreading his message, he says, will not take gobs of money, so he won’t be spending much time going after big donors. But, perhaps a fundraiser or two at the bowling alley.

“That’s more our style, anyway.”

Chris Kornelis

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