By Kyra Young
Jerry Jackson is an Army veteran and chair of the Philomath Budget Committee. A former city councilman, he’s the republican candidate for Benton County Commissioner. He answered our questions with a statement.
Jackson: I’m proud of what was accomplished while I was on the Philomath City Council. I’ll work with the Benton County family to bring the citizens the services they need. Work diligently with the budget committee to ensure the taxpayers get the most for their hard earned dollar. When elected I will be responsive to the public, forging cooperation between county government, the cities, and rural areas, to ensure delivery of services that keep the county safe and attractive.
Benton County must address the need for a jail. I support the efforts to give Sheriff Jackson the tools he needs to keep Benton County safe. We need a jail with the programs to allow alternative sentencing.
The Bailey Branch right of way should immediately be sold to the adjacent landowners at the cost Benton County paid for the land. The landowners will legally reserve the right for the railroad to return in the future.
Anne Schuster has a Ph.D. in Botany and Plant Biology and has lived in Oregon for over 25 years. She has served in a variety of capacities for the Democratic Party of Oregon.
– What are 1-2 major challenges that the county faces right now?
- A dearth of grocery stores in—North Albany, Philomath, South Corvallis.
- Mental health issues—Benton County had 8 teen suicides last year; homelessness is an issue and many homeless have mental health issues (this is an economic burden on our ER, jail, downtown businesses).
– What are 1-2 opportunities that are available to the city?
- Continuing and expanding collaborative efforts with other organizations-locally and regionally.
- Economic Development. There are existing and new entities which are having growing success—Economic Development Department, Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network, OSU Accelerator Business Enterprise Center, Linn-Benton-Lincoln Workforce Investment Board.
– What would you like to achieve during your term?
- To develop a program for youth or others who want to become farmers.
- Attract family wage jobs.
- A mitigation plan for climate change.
- Help homeless and at-risk youth, especially those who suffer with mental health issues.
- Economic development in rural Benton County.
- Facilities improvement.
– What are your opinions of your opponent?
He’s been gracious thus far. I hope we can continue to have a respectful campaign and focus on what we can bring to the commissioner position.