Three candidates announce their intent to run for open spots on the Board of Commissioners

The May primary for two Yamhill County Board of Commissioners positions is still more than seven months away, but three candidate hopefuls have already announced their intent to run for a SUBMITTED PHOTO - Sal Peralta and Debra Bridges have filed to run for two open positions on the Yamhill County Board of Commissioners.

Position 1 is held by Kathy George, who has reached her three-term limit. Position 3 is held by Mary Stern, who has also reached her term limit.

Sal Peralta has filed to run for Position 1, Debra Bridges has announced she will run for Position 3, and a third candidate Stan Primozich has not announced which position he will seek.

Sal Peralta

“I’ve been interested in public service my whole adult life,” Peralta said. “I wanted to change the world.”

He said he’s been involved with public policy since high school when he interned with former U.S. Sen. Tim Wirth where he grew up in Colorado.

Since moving to Oregon more than 10 years ago, Peralta said he has been working with policy makers at all levels of government, which gives him the understanding needed to work as county commissioner.

“I’m pretty deeply imbedded in county politics,” he said.

His résumé includes running for state legislator in 2006, working on legislative issues with the Independent Party of Oregon beginning in 2007, and as a lobbyist for a few legislative sessions.

Although as a lobbyist he worked on many bills, he said perhaps the most important was the fusion voting law which pooled votes when two or more political parties list the same candidate on a ballot.

“It gave the party a fair amount of influence,” he said.

Peralta is employed at the News-Register newspaper in McMinnville managing accounts and projects.

Peralta said someone looking at his job might wonder how he would make a good candidate for commissioner. He retorted that it’s his years in all levels of government that qualify him.

He is seeking to be added to the ballot through the petition process.

“Rather than filing by paying $50 to the county clerk, I’m collecting signatures to make the ballot,” he said. “My reasoning is I think it’s important to interact with the community.”

He added it’s this route that will allow him to connect with the community and learn what it considers important. He said he focus on public safety and deepening the ties between health services an education in local schools.

The petition to add Peralta to the ballot is available at

Debra Bridges

“I’m interested in ensuring these two open positions on the board represent the county,” Bridges said. “In the last 12 years there’s been a real continuity and now the dynamics of the board will change.”

This is because the only remaining board member is Allen Springer who is one-year into his first term. Bridges said the board will loose its institutional knowledge, something she said she has a wealth of.

Bridges has worked for the county for the past eight years as director of the Yamhill County District Attorney Crime Victim Services Office. She also serves on the Oregon Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Task Force, the Attorney General’s Crime Victim Rights Advisory Board, and is the president of the Oregon Crime Victim Assistance Network.

“I feel I have a background and understanding of the county and how the government works that will be useful in that position,” she said.

But she does have areas of concern.

“Criminal justice, law enforcement and community safety are a huge priority for me,” she said. “But I also want to make sure the (Newberg-Dundee) bypass stays alive and in a forward motion. (And I want to) create an environment where businesses want to come to Yamhill County.”

Bridges said there are lots of small businesses in the county, but commissioners need to look at how to make the county more attractive to larger businesses that can bring in additional jobs and visitors.

“I need to go back and listen to the issues,” she said. “I’ve seen and read about hot button issues, but what are the priorities for people in Yamhill County? Things may be different than my prospective today.”

Stan Primozich

Primozich said his ability to work on a board, and work collaboratively to avoid the pitfalls witnessed recently on a federal level, make him a prime candidate for commissioner.

“I’m strong on my convictions, but appreciate the fact that other people have valid points,” he said. “I’m not so bullheaded to think my way is the only way.”

Primozich has worked on the McMinnville School District and Oregon School Board Association board of directors for more than 20 years, which he said has also given him the skill to focus on the task at hand to find a solution.

He said one goal he has in mind is creating jobs, which he thinks can go hand-in-hand with education.

“A well-trained and well-educated work force is critical to expansion,” he said. “I want to get players in the community working together.”

He said after living in Yamhill County for 30 years he feels blessed.

“The community has been very good to me and I believe people should be a part of making a wonderful place better,” he said. “Over the years I’ve developed a set of skills working in finance and on budget boards. I think I bring gifts to the table and am anxious to be apart of that.”

He said one thing voters need to know about him is his strong values.

“I do not deviate,” Primozich said. “I’m open to collaboration, but will not turn my back on what I think is right.”

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