Jefferson County Commission Position 1

by: HOLLY M. GILL - Mike ThroopWith last week's filing by Mike Throop, voters will see a three-way race for Position 1 on the Jefferson County Commission in the May 20 primary election.

Throop joins Tom Brown and Mae Huston in seeking the position being vacated by John Hatfield, who is retiring from the post. Incumbent Mike Ahern has refiled for Position 2, and will be challenged by Floyd Paye in the election. Deadline to file was March 11.

Throop, 58, has considerable experience in local government after having served as Jefferson County sheriff, on the boards for Jefferson County Fire District No. 1 and Jefferson County Emergency Medical Services, and as past president of the Madras Kiwanis.

Since 2010, he has been employed as the human resources technician for the county.

"I decided to run for the office of Jefferson County commissioner as I have a sincere belief that government is designed to serve people — all the people.," he said. "I have always felt a commitment to public service. Local government, such as the County Commission, has a direct impact on people's lives because it is so close to where we live."

Born in Coos Bay, Throop was raised in Richfield, Wash., where he graduated from high school in 1973. In 1980, he graduated from the Washington Criminal Justice Training Academy, while he was serving as the director of public safety at Castle Rock, Wash., from 1979-83.

In 1983, Throop moved to Jefferson County and went to work for the Warm Springs Police Department.

Just one year later, he joined the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, where he remained from 1984 until 1997, with the last eight and one-half years as sheriff.

In 1997, his tenure as sheriff ended when he was found guilty of misrepresenting the source of two campaign contributions during the election of 1992.

For the next 12 years, Throop worked at Bright Wood Corp. as the personnel director, until he was laid off in 2009. The following year, he was hired by the county, where he continues to work.

As the human resources technician for the county, Throop said, "I have gained additional experience in working with our elected officials and department directors on a daily basis and have found this to be an invaluable learning experience, which has provided me with an excellent understanding of the issues they deal with."

Throop has no set agenda, but wants to work with the other commissioners to improve the way that county government provides services.

"I think we can improve on everything we do," he said. "I learned that at Bright Wood — continuous improvement."

Because of his background, his particular interests are public safety and law enforcement, but he also hopes to work on ensuring that there are qualified mental health providers available to county residents, and improving attendance at meetings.

Throop and his wife, Judy, who works at the Madras Police Department, have three sons, Nathan, 31, who is now working for the Clatsop County Sheriff's Office; Jerod, 34, who serves in the U.S. Air Force and is stationed in Charleston, N.C.; and Austin, 23, of Madras, who lives in Madras and is attending Central Oregon Community College-OSU.

During the campaign, Throop hopes that he and the other two vying for Position 1 can swear off donations.

"I would like to make a challenge to both Tom Brown and Mae Huston," he said, "and join me in a vow not to accept campaign donations for this position."

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