February is a short month, but, my oh my, it was especially busy for me.

At the county we continued to be fully engaged in the medical marijuana issue. We commissioners presented the first in our series of annual State of the County messages. The Marion County Veterans Task Force, which I sit on, cleared a major hurdle to bring more assistance to veterans. I announced my candidacy for State Senate District 11, and to top it all off, I was chosen Woodburn Senior First Citizen!

It has been a whirlwind of activity and I am well aware that all these events have caused quite a stir throughout Marion County and in the halls of the State Capitol.

Last month I wrote about the history and complexities of medical marijuana. Since then, our Marion County Public Safety Coordinating Council, which I chair, held a public forum that was well attended and well represented by community leaders from throughout Marion County. Supporters of medical marijuana have continued to come before our weekly Board of Commissioner meetings to give public testimony. And the legislature has continued to debate the issue. Many hoped Senate Bill 1531 would clarify local authority to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries and clear up the mess that poorly written House Bill 3460 from the 2013 session created. SB 1531 has been amended more than once and partisan politics are in full swing, leaving the future of SB 1531 uncertain as I write this.

The first presentation of our annual State of the County address was somewhat bittersweet for me as it is my last year to do State of the County addresses. Typically we review the previous year and look to what the new year will bring. In my portion of the presentation I couldn’t help but to give a very brief overview of my 15-year tenure and thank everyone at Marion County for the opportunity we’ve had to work together.

We will be presenting our State of the County at the Woodburn Chamber on March 12 at noon. At that time I hope to be able to share more information on exciting new developments that will help The Veterans Task Force and Partnership for Veterans at Risk move forward on a veterans’ transitional housing project and complementary programs and services.

I will be leaving my Marion County Board of Commissioners seat knowing that county government is better today than when I took my seat on the board. I have worked hard to bring trust, accountability, efficiency and common sense to local government.

However, it weighs on me that too many people in Oregon, and especially in Marion County, are unemployed, under employed or working two part-time jobs. Poverty is much too high. Oregon’s student achievement and home ownership are both far too low.

Knowing the state can and should do much more to improve livability and opportunity for Oregonians, on Feb. 11, I filed and announced my candidacy for State Senate District 11.

I have worked tirelessly to serve my constituents at the county level and am ready to take my knowledge and experience to the legislature and work on behalf of the people who live in Senate District 11.

And wow, I am still amazed at this fantastic honor to be chosen Woodburn’s Senior First Citizen. To be honored for the privilege of serving my friends, family and this fantastic community that has supported and embraced my husband, our children, our grandchildren and me for 30 years in so many wonderful ways is more than I could ever have imagined.

My heartfelt thanks to everyone for the privilege you have given me.

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