After considerable reflection on my 20 years as a Tillamook County commissioner, it is time to announce what my plans are for the future.
I have decided not to run for reelection as Tillamook County commissioner when my term expires on Dec. 31. This was a very difficult decision for me to make because I love being a county commissioner. Not only do I enjoy working with commissioners Baertlein and Yamamoto, but I am honored to serve the citizens of Tillamook County and to work alongside the county’s dedicated staff. Being a county commissioner has been a truly meaningful experience.
Before becoming a Tillamook County commissioner, I served for eight years as a state representative until term limits, which existed at that time, forced me to leave. As a county commissioner, I have had the privilege to work with people across the state and the nation to find creative solutions to complex issues. As a result, I have determined that the time is right for me to run again for the Oregon State Legislature as the District 32 representative.
Several people have encouraged me to run again for the Legislature, including my family, State Rep. Debbie Boone, and State Sen. Betsy Johnson. My experience as a former legislator and a county commissioner gives me a unique opportunity to be effective in solving Oregon’s complex budgetary, social and environmental issues.
If elected, I would hit the ground running. Fortunately, I know the legislative process very well through almost 30 years of experience. I also have a solid understanding of the issues and problems that we face at the local, regional, state and national levels. Most importantly, I have learned how to work collaboratively with both Democrats and Republicans to forge solutions that fit our needs and move us in a positive direction.
We face a number of challenges that must be resolved soon. Many of our cities and counties are in, or soon will be in, financial crisis due to an outdated state tax structure that was initiated in the mid-1990s through the referendum process. My experience as a County Commissioner has given me a firsthand understanding of the critical services that cities and counties provide to the public, and these services that are too important to see go away.
Another hurdle that can and must be overcome is the Public Employees Retirement System. Unfortunately, the Legislature’s failure to stem the rising PERS cost for schools and public services across the state has already compromised our future. Solving this financial crisis will allow us to allocate our limited resources to more productive areas, such as ensuring our schools and civic facilities are earthquake ready to improve public safety and upgrading our infrastructure to support and encourage economic development.
I hope you will support my effort to serve you once again as a member of the Oregon State Legislature as your state representative for District 32.
Tillamook County Commissioner