In my August column I talked about Rep. Dennis Richardson announcing his run for Oregon’s next governor. His announcement in July may have appeared premature to many, but as I wrote, we will be voting in just 14 months for a new governor. We will also be voting for new state legislators, county commissioners and city councilors.

In fact, my term as one of your county commissioners is up January of 2015. It is only natural that people have asked me what my plans are: Will I be running for re-election, will I run for Congress and am I interested in the State Senate?

As each campaign season rolls around I have always been quick to announce my run for re-election. There is no greater honor than to be a public servant! I love representing you in county government. A few months ago, however, after being asked my plans, I took a step back and for the first time in 25 years I wanted to think about how and where I can best put my time, energies and talents to be the most effective on issues dear to me.

I have decided that I am ready to move on to the next phase of my life. I will not seek a fifth term as county commissioner. I will not be running for re-election in 2014. I am ready to explore new opportunities and projects that will allow me to concentrate my efforts on issues such as veterans, health care, public safety and other issues critical to protecting our representative form of government, our Constitution and our freedoms.

Yes, I could easily continue another four-year term as your county commissioner. It is a fabulous “job” full of tremendous challenges, exciting opportunities and unparalleled learning experiences. Commissioners are responsible for the executive, the quasi-judicial and the legislative branches of county government. The board of commissioners sets policy for the administration and operation of county government. We are intimately involved in every aspect, every day of county government and I am privileged to work with great people who do their best to serve the citizens of Marion County.

Looking back over the past 15 years I am proud of the role I have played in what we have accomplished in Marion County. County government is more accountable, more accessible, more transparent and more responsive to the citizens we serve. Reading through old newspaper articles, press releases, reports and other documents, it is a humble reminder of how different Marion County is today than my first year back in 1999.

It was with my leadership that the county created a Rainy Day fund, built reserve and contingency funds, implemented a fleet program, department audits, instituted the Economic Development Advisory Board and reinstituted the Noxious Weed Advisory Board and District. I oversaw the implementation of health savings accounts for county employees and I was instrumental in reorganizing the County Dog Control Program and Shelter.

I led efforts to update county ordinances to ease regulations and encourage small business development, job creation and economic development in Marion County. I’ve been a strong advocate for farmers emphasizing the protection of productive farm land and farmers’ right to farm.

Together with the Volcanoes baseball team, I created the successful annual “Striking Out Meth in Marion County” event now going into its ninth year. Working with veterans this past year, I helped create a Joining Community Forces effort in Marion County.

And there are so many other things it is an honor to be a part of in making Marion County a better place. Moreover, I am grateful for the trust and support people have given me over the years to be involved in all of this.

In recent times, however, it has become harder and harder to send my regrets to the many invitations I’ve received to become more involved in exciting initiatives and projects that tug at my heart. It is difficult to say no, but there just is not enough time in the day to take on more. So, it is time to finish this term and let someone new step into this position.

Through the remaining 16 months of my current term my work ethic will not change. I am here to work hard on behalf of the people of Marion County until January of 2015, just as I always have. I’m just a phone call away (503-588-5212) and my door is always open!

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