OKANOGAN — Okanogan County Republicans are asking Andy Lampe to resign as Okanogan County Commissioner for writing a letter supporting the appointment of Omak conservationist Jay Kehne to the state Fish and Wildlife Commission.
“I will not be stepping down,” said Lampe, a Republican who won contested elections in 2004 and 2008, and will be up for reelection this year. “If I decide to run again — and I have not made that decision — the voters can decide if I can continue on.”
His June letter to Gov. Chris Gregoire, written on Okanogan County letterhead, came as a surprise to Republicans, who have launched a campaign to remove Kehne from the appointed position.
The party’s central committee voted Dec. 28 to ask Lampe to resign as county commissioner, but has not yet sent him a letter asking him to step down, said Teri Mitschelen, chairman of the county’s Republican Party.
She said they’ll also be asking Lampe to rescind his letter supporting Kehne’s appointment to the Wildlife Commission; to apologize to the Republican Party; and to sign letters with Okanogan County’s other two commissioners seeking Kehne’s removal and asking other counties to do the same.
Mitschelen declined to provide reasons for asking Lampe to resign, saying it was discussed in an executive session of the party’s central committee.
“Our biggest issue is getting the appointment of Jay Kehne revoked. He is not in touch with our county, and there are many conflicting issues out there,” she said.
Lampe said he no longer supports Kehne’s appointment, due to some of Kehne’s actions as outreach associate for Conservation Northwest.
Gregoire named Kehne to the six-year term in December. He works for Conservation Northwest, a nonprofit group headquartered in Bellingham that supported the state’s wolf recovery plan, and has promoted numerous conservation projects in Okanogan County.
K.C. Mehaffey: 997-2512