The May 19 primary election is just around the corner. Voter pamphlet statements have gone out, and people have received their ballots. Many have even turned them in by now. Yard signs are up, and so are field signs. Campaign websites are filled with content, candidate social media pages are active and voters’ mailboxes are flooded with election-related materials.
The coronavirus crisis is unprecedented in our elections, which means that we have to do things differently. It has limited the amount of grassroots, retail politicking that candidates can do. Gone are the handshakes, parades and town hall meetings. Instead, they’re replaced by virtual meetings broadcast over the internet.
These next few days are especially critical in my race for chair of the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners. Since there are only two candidates, there will be no runoff in the November general election. It will all be decided on May 19.
I’ve been using all the available means over the past couple of months to make the case as to why I should replace Jim Bernard as the chair of the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners. The biggest reason is that I feel the county is heading in the wrong direction under his “leadership” and I think I can do a better job.
As a former small business owner, two-term member of the Oregon House of Representatives and commissioner, I have the right experience. I was on the legislature’s Ways and Means Committee and helped balance budgets, even in difficult times. Under my leadership, Clackamas County’s budget had a surplus. It has been squandered in the years since and replaced with growing deficits.
Our residents are spending more time stuck in traffic on roads that haven’t been maintained, while billion-dollar, fixed route light rail boondoggles continue to be forced on them. Homelessness from Portland is making its way to our communities, due to decades of public policies that make housing less affordable for working people. But instead of focusing on these problems, Bernard has called for higher taxes to pay more consultants for “special projects” that do not benefit county residents.
These problems have been perpetuated and made worse over time, and no amount of tax dollars going to the county, or Metro, is going to make them better. It’s been a matter of misplaced priorities and reckless spending that I intend to put a stop to.
Instead of incurring debt and raising taxes to construct a new courthouse, I will lead efforts to lease and renovate existing commercial space for a fraction of the cost. I will put Clackamas County residents first, not county government, and certainly not Metro.
My emphasis will be on customer service and being responsive to what county residents want and don’t want. County government will work to prioritize key services that aren’t already provided at the city, state or federal levels.
Lastly, I will advocate for loggers, ranchers, farmers and truckers and stand with business owners to create a more prosperous county. I will work to create an environment where the entrepreneurial spirit can thrive, instead of treating businesses and their owners as revenue sources to continue growing county government.
But I need your help to do all this. I need you to turn in your ballots by May 19 so they can be counted and our voices can be heard. And together, we can, and will, get Clackamas County back on the right track.