“They shouldn’t vote Republican or Democrat. They should vote for the problems of the community according to the wishes of the community. ‘
SISTERS, Ore (KTVZ) – An initiative petition asking voters whether Deschutes County commissioner seats should become non-partisan has been circulating since May, and it looks like the vote won’t take place until next May.
Susan Cobb, one of the three chief petitioners of the Non-Partisan County Commissioners Committee, said Monday they need to collect at least 6,721 valid voters’ signatures and are targeting 9,400, to ensure it does voting.
To date, they have obtained 2,808 signatures. Cobb said it was a slow process.
“In the days of Covid and in the days of the extreme fires and smoke, we had few opportunities to get signatures from the public face to face, as events were called off here, there and everywhere” Cobb said.
Along with Cobb, a Sisters Democrat, the other main petitioners are Republican-turned-independent Mimi Alkira, vice president of the League of Women Voters in Deschutes County, and Drew Kaza, another independent voter who owns the Sisters Movie House.
Cobb said they were successful at the Sisters Folk Festival this weekend, as well as farmers’ markets and other public spaces, such as outside the Sisters Library. However, they are still not on track to make it to the November poll.
“At the moment, we just don’t have the tally,” Cobb said. “But even if we had the tally, that would be the one thing voters would vote for or against in the November election, and (as a result) the November election would cost $ 450,000.
The new game plan is to obtain the initiative on the ballot in the primary elections next May. To do this, they must submit their petition signatures by early February.
To speed up the process, Cobb said they are hosting an event at Drake Park on Monday, October 18 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. The event will have a panelist made up of two former County Commissioners, Tammy Baney of Deschutes County and Mark Labhart of Tillamook County, and current Deschutes County Commissioner Phil Chang, a Democrat elected last year (both other commissioners, Tony DeBone and Patti Adair, are Republicans).
A few resident sisters have expressed their support for the initiative.
“Yeah, you better be a non-partisan in that regard,” said Brooke Mik.
“Absolutely,” Blanche Tadlock said. “Since they were elected by the community, they shouldn’t vote Republican or Democrat. They should vote for community issues based on what the community wants.”
Cobb hopes that in the future politicians can focus on people in the community rather than party affiliation.