State Rep. Dave Hunt (D-Gladstone) returned from China over the weekend and received his family's blessing to file for chair of the Board of County Commissioners this week.

His press release on Tuesday confirmed the rumored announcement that current Clackamas County Chair Charlotte Lehan and several other political insiders had related while he was on the trade mission.

'It's probably one of the most interesting things that there's both a lot of dissatisfaction about all the things that are stuck in the county right now and a lot of optimism about everything that we could achieve,' Hunt said. 'Clackamas County has amazing resources, but it's going to take leadership that's thoughtful and balanced to achieve our full potential. It's not any one thing; it's just a collective sense that our county is stuck right now and we need to get refocused on getting folks back to work.'

Hunt said that the last time that county leadership was fully effective was when the governing board was composed of former members of the Oregon Legislature, including Ed Lindquist, Darlene Hooley, former Lake Oswego Mayor Judie Hammerstad and Bill Kennemer.

Hunt also has experience in the private sector, as a nonprofit leader, as a staffer for two Democratic members of Congress, as vice chair of the Oregon City School Board, and as a member of the Clackamas County citizen involvement committee. The current county board has no elected legislative experience.

Lehan countered that she and the county as a whole have achieved more through nonpartisan past positions such as her nearly two decades as mayor and city councilor of Wilsonville. With degrees in early childhood education and human development, she worked for many years with young children and operated a small business in Lake Oswego.

'I have passed up opportunities to run for the (Oregon) Legislature partly because I prefer the work of local government and partly because I have never been comfortable with partisan politics,' Lehan said. 'Local government requires teamwork and leadership, not hardline politics, and it's part of the reason we've been able to accomplish so much. For most of my twelve years as Wilsonville mayor, we were the fastest growing city in Clackamas County, in both population and jobs growth.'

Hunt said he's looking forward to working with the rest of the BCC and is open to Commissioner Paul Savas' idea to levy a fee for county transportation priorities. As co-chair of the emergency board throughout the last Legislative session, Hunt said he's also sensitive to identifying which human services would have the most impact in a tight budget, using Gladstone's Center for Children and Families as a model of collaboration across jurisdictions to create economies of scale.

Currently chairing the House Transportation and Economic Development Committee, Hunt said he will continue to serve in the Legislature through the end of his current term.

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