Forum Presents Candidates for County Commissioner Positions | News

The League of Women Voters of Lincoln County hosted a virtual Candidates Forum on April 14 that featured female candidates for Lincoln County Board of Commissioners 1 and 3. Candidates answered a series of questions prepared by moderator Jean Cowan.

The positions could be chosen after the May 17 primary election. Since commissioner positions are nonpartisan, if a candidate gets more than 50% of the vote, they could win the primary. Otherwise, the two most voted candidates will face a runoff in November.

The forum was rebroadcast on the website at https://www.lwvlincolncounty.org/

Lincoln County Commissioner‘s Position 1 Forum

Candidates vying for Position 1 include Walter Chuck, Greg Holland, Carter McEntee, Casey Miller and Mitch Parsons.

Q: What do you see as the main responsibilities and time commitment of the county commissioner position? Please describe your personal background and experience that qualifies you to assume these responsibilities.

Holland said the county commissioner would look for ways to address the county’s issues. Chuck said the commissioners’ commitment is to produce a county-wide budget. He would bring 10 years of experience to the commission.

The time commitment is full-time, Parsons added. He would like to be in the community and listen to the needs. The main responsibility of the commissioners is the budget and the collaboration with the other heads of department.

Miller said the ability to manage time will be a key characteristic for anyone who decides to be a commissioner. From his experience working in the Commissioner’s office, he has found that day-to-day operations are a heavy workload.

“It’s very much internal. It’s a lot external,” Miller said. “I think any of these fine people here will find there will be plenty to do.”

McEntee expects a huge time commitment as commissioner.

“My qualifications come from lived experience, starting and running businesses in this county,” McEntee said.

Q: Please let us know your thoughts on better ways to address our challenges around housing affordability, social service delivery and meeting the needs of our homeless population.

We need to better incentivize investors to develop more high-density units in the county, McEntee said. He thinks the county has done a lot to try to keep up with homelessness. Getting to the root of it can help reduce homelessness.

Parsons said housing will be a big problem to solve. He believes there needs to be a focus on more mental health services. Miller said the county has a housing strategy plan. One solution may be to add more accessory slots.

The county has a housing shortage, Chuck added. At this time, housing must be in cities. Holland told Waldport he had ordered a survey of all land that could be developed.

Lincoln County Commissioner’s Position 3 Forum

Candidates for Position 3 are incumbents Kaety Jacobson, Randy Mallette, Ryan Parker and Mark Watkins. These people answered the same questions as the candidates for position 1.

Q: What do you see as the main responsibilities and time commitment of the position of County Commissioner? Please describe your personal background and experience that qualifies you to assume these responsibilities.

Parker said the role is to honor the public trust and stand up for the people. If elected, Parker plans to advocate for a change in the structure of the commissioners’ office and change the position to part-time.

Watkins said there is no time commitment in public service. Job responsibilities include ensuring departments are fully funded and staffed.

“The problems come from the base,” Watkins said. “I plan to get in deputy patrol vehicles. I’m going to ride with the cops. I want to know what the issues are.

Mallette added that the role is to watch over every individual in the county. Mallette would work with all department heads.

Jacobson said the time commitment is comprehensive and it is his full-time job and should be the full-time job of every commissioner.

“The budget is one of those major responsibilities,” Jacobson said. “You are also an administrator. You have over 500 employees working for you.

Q: Please let us know your thoughts on better ways to address our challenges around housing affordability, social service delivery and meeting the needs of our homeless population.

Mallette said for many people in Lincoln County, it’s a paycheck.

“I’m not an expert on this, but I’ll reach out to people who are and we’ll come up with a plan,” Mallette said.

Jacobson said the county has several small home towns for survivors of the Echo Mountain Fire in Otis. She also acknowledges how difficult social services have been over the past three years.

Watkins said everyone needs to be involved in this.

“I would really work to expand our frontier of urban growth,” Watkins said. “I would work hand in hand with every planner to really look at the plot maps, to really look at the areas that we can develop.”

Ryan said he thinks the county needs to expand harm reduction. It can help the homeless population. In terms of housing affordability, he said the county needs to consider building different models of housing.

Consult the candidates’ forum on https://www.lwvlincolncounty.org/

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