I am John Ludlow, and I am running for the chair position of the Clackamas County Commission. In the last two weeks, the campaign trail has become nasty. On April 26, my opponent made the following statement in defense of Dave Hunt, who was on the ballot for the Clackamas County chair position at the time:

“Today I called for an end to the negative campaign advertising that is appearing in advance of the election for Clackamas County Chair. Campaign tactics like these do nothing to advance the interests of Clackamas County residents,” wrote Charlotte Lehan, via Facebook.

At the time, commission candidate Dave Hunt’s legislative voting record was being attacked, and Ms. Lehan’s call for civility was admirable. So, imagine my surprise on Oct. 12, when I learned a negative sign campaign against me had begun. It seems that overnight “John Ludlow is a Bully” signs had sprung up all over Clackamas County.

Ms. Lehan is well connected with the man behind the effort, Dave Adams. He donated more than $8,000 to her campaign the last time that she ran for office. Mr.Adams even went on a local station on Oct. 16, fully admitting he is the organizer of these signs. So while Ms. Lehan has a history of coming to the defense of others she is politically inclined toward, like Dave Hunt, she has yet to call off her friend Mr. Adams from his slanderous and personal attacks on me.

Now that you know the history and the character of my opponent and those she keeps company with, let me tell you about myself.

For more than 40 years I have been a community volunteer in Clackamas County.

The tradition of my playing Santa began in 1988 and has grown and changed over the years. I have been Santa for local senior centers, Alzheimer’s centers, fundraisers, foster kids, local Ronald McDonald Houses and schools. I have enjoyed it immensely and am amazed at how, no matter the age, they all smile when Santa arrives.

About 10 years ago, my Santa role resulted in my creation of the most important project in which I’ve ever been involved. Through a Child’s Eyes (TACE) offers Oregon inmate mothers and their children bonding opportunities to strengthen families.

These kids are six times more likely to become inmates themselves and many are in foster care. We try to help these kids from becoming future inmates. I have been recognized many times for the TACE program, but more importantly, aspects of TACE have been replicated in other Oregon correctional facilities.

I continue to win awards for my work with children, mothers and seniors. I agree with my critics who say I am hard hitting on issues, but that hardly make me a bully. I will continue being vocal, direct and outspoken on issues that are important to Clackamas County citizens.

Feel free to click on my website at to see examples of how I will serve you as your Clackamas County chair.

With your vote, I will continue to fight for the issues that are important to you. “Remember in November; the status quo or Ludlow!”

John Ludlow, former Wilsonville mayor, is a candidate for Clackamas County Commission chair.

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