From jail facilities to our historic courthouse and emergency services—and the list could go on—Benton County is run by a body of three commissioners. Two seats are at stake this year, and we’ve asked each candidate for a brief statement about what they would like to achieve. Responses were emailed in, and all are unedited.
Xanthippe (Xan) Augerot (DEM)
“As the Democratic Party candidate for Position 2, Benton County Commission, my primary objective is to maintain the livability of Benton County in the face of external pressures such as population growth, climate change, and a cash-strapped state government. I have several priorities:
• Work with public and private partners to promote affordable housing, to provide more options for current residents and more opportunities for local entrepreneurs to attract new employees;
• Ensure the availability of behavioral health services for those living with substance abuse and mental illness;
• Partner to provide suitable shelter for the chronically homeless;
• Invite the community’s help to assess the County’s need for a new law enforcement complex, possibly including a jail and courtrooms.
Community resilience is also critical. County decision-making must take into account long-term changes in water resource availability as well as our need to reduce carbon emissions and strengthen neighborhood-based readiness for wildfire, earthquakes and floods.”
Jerry J. Jackson Sr. (REP, IND)
Disclosed no agenda items and stated, “I will send the information when you do a story on the very close relationship Steve Shultz has with the City Club and the agenda of the Democrats to control people. The story should reflect the article about the candidates was not factual.”
(Steven Schultz serves as President at The City Club of Corvallis, a volunteer position, and as Publisher at this newspaper — two separate entities. Schultz has done no reporting on this race for the paper. ~ Associate Editors)
Paul Cauthorn (REP, IND)
“Benton County citizens have a wide spectrum of viewpoints. For far too long those in office have not represented this diversity of opinion. I will work hard to make the county government accountable and responsive to all of the people of Benton County and not just special interest groups.”
Annabelle Jaramillo (DEM)
“I seek re-election to see that the county accomplishes efforts now underway. I will focus on three:
• Facilities. Several county buildings are aging and need attention. With current resources we will renovate and remodel the Health Department facility and public works offices.
The health department facility will enhance clinical services. Administration will be re-located to the Sunset Building on Research Way.
Adding a second story to the public works facility will provide accessible meeting space and convert current meeting space into staff offices and work areas.
Courthouse and jail will take a conversation with the community. A criminal justice center to provide safe working space for employees, the courts, and a jail has been proposed by citizens. This project will require taxpayer support.
• Employee Performance Management. The county is implementing a performance management strategy that recognizes employee strengths and performance. Full implementation is likely next biennium.
• The 2040 Thriving Communities Initiative. I am excited that the County is looking to the future. We have engaged a broad spectrum of community representatives in a visioning process to identify community core values and long-term needs. The 2040 Council represents farming and logging industries, regional development, municipalities, the private sector, and community organizations.”
Timothy L. Dehne (PGP)
Primarily I would do my best to create a Benton County community that works together for the betterment of all citizens. Everyone can have a role to play. Each of us can “rise to play a greater part”.
Water is my #1 issue. County Commissioners can optimize and coordinate Public Works, Natural Areas and Parks, Environmental Health, and citizen groups to understand the quantity and quality of Benton County water resources.
Citizen concerns include homelessness, better mental health facilities, improving health care, affordable housing, veteran issues, controlling cost of government, and many more. Keeping “community” in mind, all voices will be heard, all ideas will be considered. County Commissioners will play a pivotal role in this endeavor.