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Thurston County, Washington

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Board of County Commissioners


Term of Office

Gary is serving his second term in office as your Thurston County Commissioner in District #2 which runs through 2024.

About Gary

Born and raised in Yelm, Gary has family roots that run deep – all the way back to the 1800's when the Edwards family were homesteaders in the area.

Gary and his wife of 54 years (Debbie) call Yelm home, are proud parents of three children, and have nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Debbie spends her time serving the community as well – she has spent 38 years on the Yelm School Board.

Gary served our country in the Army and continuing his passion for the security of our citizens, he dedicated 39 years to law enforcement. He was first elected Sheriff of Thurston County in 1986. For 20 years, he was known as the "working sheriff" that fought to improve public safety through legislation. He is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy.

His proudest accomplishment in 20 years as sheriff was initiating the "Sex Offender Registration Program" which was developed right here in Thurston County. Gary has also served as a statewide leader and past president of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs and the Washington State Sheriffs Association.

While holding the office of Sheriff, Gary worked collaboratively with all enforcement agencies to share information and resources. He plans to continue focusing on partnerships and collaboration with other agencies and jurisdictions to keep Thurston County a prosperous community.

Since retiring as Sheriff of Thurston County, Gary has worked for Homeland Security and has continued to be involved in the community. A lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), he also is active in the local Yelm Lions Club and Yelm/Rainier Dollars for Scholars events.

Gary represents the Board on the following committees:

  • Lewis, Mason, Thurston Area Agency on Aging
  • Emergency Medical Services Council (Medic One)
  • Fire Commissioners Association
  • Nisqually River Council
  • South Sound Military & Communities Partnership Elected Officials Council
  • Solid Waste Advisory Committee
  • Thurston 911 Communications (TCOMM 911) Administration Board
  • Voluntary Stewardship Program
  • WA Counties Insurance Fund Board of Trustees