The only elected Democrat in Franklin County is switching parties.
County Clerk Mike Killian will run for a fourth term as a Republican this year, after serving as a Democrat since he was appointed by county commissioners in 2000.
Killian, who was deployed with the Navy reserves for 273 days in 2012, said frustration with President Obama's foreign policy in dealing with countries like Syria and Russia affected his decision to change parties.
"His policies need to be more forceful," Killian said of Obama. "We've done nothing on Syria. It's been almost three years of civil war over there."
Killian was treated well during his deployment to Kuwait, but said he has been disappointed with seeing decreases in the size of the Navy from almost 600 ships when Ronald Reagan was president to fewer than 300.
"That just doesn't protect us," he said. "The Navy needs to keep Europe safe, and keep commerce moving as well."
Killian also differs from the national Democratic Party on issues such as abortion. He is pro-life and he supports gun rights, he said.
"Both sides really need to listen to their constituents," he said. "They need to do more for us, since we're the ones who elected them, and not listen to the lobbyists and their own personal agenda."
His ability to be re-elected did not play a major factor in Killian's decision, since he has never been opposed in his three previous runs for clerk, he said.
Residents shouldn't expect anything to change with his office, which handles records for Franklin County Superior Court, because of his party switch, Killian said.
He said he hasn't discussed the change with representatives from the local Republican or Democratic parties.
"Politics has nothing to do with the county clerk's office," he said.
The Franklin County Clerk's Office has ranked among the top three clerk's offices statewide in overall collections of legal financial obligations for the past several years, according to a news release.
In-person filing for the 2014 elections begins May 12 and closes May 16.
Killian is the only candidate so far to file to raise money with the state Public Disclosure Commission.
He was appointed to his position in December 2000 after the retirement of former Clerk Bev Finke.
Killian, who had been an assistant administrator with Franklin County District Court, was also secretary-treasurer for the Franklin County Democratic Central Committee at the time, and was the county coordinator for Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash, in her first run.
Killian and his wife Diana, the county elections administrator, live in Pasco. Their daughter, Alexandra, attends Western Washington University, while twin sons Tristan and Schuyler plan to enter the Navy in July after they graduate from Pasco High School.
Killian is involved with the Kiwanis Club of Pasco, Saint Patrick's Church, the Knights of Columbus, the American Legion and Farm Bureau, the release said.
-- Geoff Folsom: 509-582-1543; email@example.com; Twitter: @GeoffFolsom