County Commission Race 2020: Jaramillo Bows Out, Wyse Files for Candidacy

Today, four-term Benton County Commissioner Annabelle Jaramillo confirmed she will not be seeking another term, and Ward 6 City Councilor Nancy Wyse announced she will run for the seat.

Jaramillo is deeply respected among local political observers, and while there had been speculation that she may retire, the best known potential candidates have said they would not challenge her in May’s upcoming primary.  The primary is viewed as decisive in Benton County Commission races, given whoever gets the Democratic nomination, will almost certainly win in November’s general.

It had been widely speculated that Wyse would run if Jaramillo chose not to.

The Board of Commissioners oversee all functions of county government services and sets the budgets for the Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney’s Office. They act as executives, overseeing county operations; legislators, setting county ordinances; and also fill a quasi-judicial role in land use matters.

The Board consists of three commissioners, Jaramillo currently occupies, and Wyse will be seeking, Position 3.

OTHER POSSIBLE CANDIDATES, MAYBE NOT: There had been whispers over the possibility that school board member Vince Adams, or school board chair Sami Al-AbdRabbuh may run.

However, Al-AbdRabbuh told The Advocate today that he is undecided. Al-AbdRabbuh cites the need to oversee implementation of the $200 million bond issue voters granted the school district as chief among his concerns, and he added that he has been impressed with Wyse as a city councilor. Adams had not responded at press time about his intentions, but it is rumored he will likely not run.

In 2018, both Adams and Wyse ran in a six candidate primary field for Position 1 on the Board, and Al-AbdRabbuh ran for it as an Independent Party candidate in the general. Democrat Pat Malone won both the primary and the general. Al-AbdRabbuh has since registered as a Democrat.

ABOUT NANCY V. WYSE: Wyse is an administrative analyst, and currently serves as Corvallis City Council Vice President.

In a press release, Wyse said she would like to see the county considerably improve its transparency.

“Community members should be able to go to the county website and download minutes and audio recordings from the board and commissions meetings. No one should have to drive halfway across the county with a thumb drive if they want to listen to the planning commission’s deliberations.”

She also states, “Speaking of improving community member access and government transparency, I think the budget committee meetings absolutely should be recorded”.

Wyse says current practice dictates that the budget committee meetings are not recorded, which is an issue she says she brought up at the last meeting.

Other pending county matters supported by Wyse include the Criminal Justice System Implementation and emergency preparedness activities.

She also would like to see the prior inclination to prevent urban sprawl renewed, stating, .  “We need to uphold the original intent of the Benton County Development Code, which has strong protections for resource zones like Forest Conservation, Multi-Purpose Agriculture, and Open Space.  Density belongs in the cities, not next to working farms”.

Wyse’s press release goes on to outline some of her prior experience

Current: Corvallis City Council, Vice President; Corvallis Budget Commission, Vice Chair; South Corvallis Urban Renewal Agency, Vice Chair; Benton County Planning Commission; Benton County Budget Committee; League of Oregon Cities Telecom, Cable, & Broadband Policy Committee; 2020 Census Complete Count Committee; Benton County Democrats Elected Precinct Committee Person, precinct 6. Liaison positions: Corvallis-Benton County Economic Advisory Board; Corvallis Chamber of Commerce; The Economic Vitality Partnership.

Past experience: South Corvallis Urban Renewal Advisory Committee; Land Development Code Audit Advisory Committee.  Liaison positions: Parks, Natural Areas, & Recreation Advisory Board; Historic Resources Commission; Downtown Advisory Board; Downtown Parking Committee.