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Base your vote on status of county government


Now that Crook County ballots have gone out to voters, the Central Oregonian would like to weigh in on the choices regarding county offices.

While many races will be decided, including a loaded primary slate for U.S. senator, Congressional representative, and Oregon governor, we'll focus on the options for local government.

Voters will decide who moves forward in the race for Crook County Commissioner and will also choose whether that office and the other county court positions convert to nonpartisan going forward.

The county commissioner race features two qualified candidates who each have experience in local government and have worked together frequently in the past. Seth Crawford is winding up his first term as commissioner, while Jack Seley has governed the City of Prineville as part of its seven-member council.

We feel that both candidates are focusing on the correct top priority, job creation. Furthermore, they each believe as we do that the best way for government to boost employment is to create a business friendly environment and seek a diverse job market.

When it comes to another critical county issue, jail space, both Crawford and Seley have correctly stated that if feasibility studies conclude that a corrections facility can be built at the Pioneer Memorial Hospital site, leaders should go to the public and solicit their input before deciding to move forward with the idea.

We believe that either candidate would be a good fit for the county over the next four years. We therefore believe that voters should be cast based upon how they feel the county has been run the past four years. If you feel they have done a good job, it makes sense to maintain the status quo and vote Crawford. Not only does it keep the same team in place, it keeps Seley, a good local leader, in the fold at the city.

If you are looking for a change in county government, then we recommend voting for Seley. While he has not served in county government, he brings a wealth of experience to the job, and should be relatively familiar with county issues, having partnered with the county court during his time on the city council.

Regarding the ballot measure that would change the county court positions to nonpartisan offices, we urge voters to approve the proposal. County officials have noted that virtually no county government work includes partisan decisions, and we agree.

Furthermore, with nonpartisan offices, nonaffiliated voters, or those from minority parties — both growing groups in recent years — can play a larger role in picking county leaders than they can currently, when Republican and Democratic primary usually select the final field.

Lastly, we encourage people to take advantage of their right and privilege to vote. Get educated on the issues and candidates and take a role in choosing our future leaders.