Position 3 and Position 1 candidates receive endorsement of community editorial board

The Newberg Graphic community editorial board is endorsing Debra Bridges (Position 3) and Sal Peralta (Position 1) for two spots on the Yamhill County Board of Commissioners.

The editorial board is made up of Newberg Graphic publisher Al Herriges and managing editor Gary Allen, as well as insurance agent Dave Paul, banker Bob Ficker, Newberg Downtown Coalition Executive Director Mike Ragsdale, retired businessmen Walter Want and Sam Farmer, businessman Dennis Lewis and Newberg School District communications director Claudia Stewart.

The editorial board met last week after the Newberg City Club and Chehalem Valley Chamber of Commerce hosted the eight candidates in a forum at Friendsview Manor.April 9 editorial

Bridges was the overwhelming choice of the editorial board. Her breadth of knowledge about county government, as well as the relationships she has already developed with the leaders of county departments and agencies through her position as director of crime victims services at the Yamhill County District attorney’s office, will serve us well.

Neither of her opponents in the May primary — Mary Starrett and Marc Shelton — while well-intentioned, have the experience in government to be effective county commissioners. Shelton, a former Newberg City Council member and a professor at George Fox University, is close. We urge him to gain a little more experience in county government and consider a run for commission a few years down the road.

The shoes the successful Position 3 candidate must fill are huge as they belong to Mary Stern, one of the most effective and knowledgeable commissioners Yamhill County has seen in many years.

We believe Bridges is capable of taking up where Stern leaves off when she departs the commission in May. Our hope is that instead of this race continuing on to the November general election, the electorate will vote for Bridges in such numbers that she wins the position outright in the May primary.

That scenario would allow the current Board of Commissioners to appoint Bridges to the position until Stern’s term officially ends in December.

The board’s deliberations on the Position 1 contest was made more difficult due to the fact that there are five candidates (formerly six but Chris Heisler was removed from the ballot by the county clerk after he failed to date and sign his application), yet two favorites quickly emerged: Peralta and Stan Primozich.

Both men have backgrounds steeped in civic engagement, but Peralta got the nod of the board due his energy, his knowledge of and connection to people in county government, and his good communication skills.

At the candidate forum he also made the connection between education and a growing economy, and touted business recruiting over business growth. He seemed to understand that the county will need to hit the ground running as the economy inches out of the mire of the recession.

The Graphic’s community editorial board believes that with Bridges and Peralta elected to the Board of Commissioners, the future of Yamhill County will be bright.

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