Answers to Blackberry Pie Society Questions

From their website:

"The Cottage Grove Blackberry Pie Society is dedicated to promoting good politics and great people in South Lane County and beyond, and having fun while doing it. When actions are needed we act as a thorn in the side and a pie in the face of any threat to Americans' rights and values."



I am pleased to announce we are endorsed by the Blackberry Pie Society. They are a progressive rural organization. They wrote an article in the Register-Guard with questions everyone should ask their commissioner candidates. I want to share my thoughtful responses with you.

1. Which Lane County Commissioner District are you running for? Why are you running
and what do you hope to accomplish in office?

I am seeking the position of West Lane County Commissioner because our Lane County Commissioners have not been responsive to the our rural people of Lane County. Too often the current commissioners are working for their own special interests, and are ignoring the citizens. I see a need for leadership that truly represents the voice of the people in Lane County. My priorities would include advocating for a living wage, affordable housing and access to healthcare for all. We need the county to be a positive employer that pays its employees fair wages and gives them the benefits they deserve.

I would also like to see the county move in ways that reflect the serious threat to our environment that we face with climate change. We need to work our hardest to protect our forests and waterways.

2. What prepares you to serve in this capacity? Please include civic groups you have
been involved with and prior governmental experience you have had.

I have no prior government experience . However, I have headed up and participated in two Neighborhood Watch groups over the years , which required working cooperatively with the Lane County Sheriff. I am a participating and supporting member of the Siuslaw Watershed Council. I am a also a community member of the Siuslaw Schools PTA.

I have a great deal of experience of experience in community organizing. I have vision and the ability to make it a reality. For example, last year I felt a need to raise community awareness about the issues our immigrants face. I proceeded to write a letter to the editor, raised a large group of people to attend a school board meeting regarding sanctuary or safe schools. Finally, with the help of the Dean at Lane Community College at Florence, created a very well attended event, to share our sanctuary policy and allow our immigrant students to share their story.

3 Please list your campaign committee’s members and their positions.
Kevin Cronin, General Consultant; Summer Haenny, Campaign Manager; Patch Perryman, Treasurer; volunteer members of the Democratic Party of Lane County, the Florence Democratic Club as well as members of Florence Organizes.

4. Please summarize your employment history and educational background and explain
how they may relate to your campaign.

Most of my educational background has been in the education field. I have an Med in Curriculum and Instruction and a graduate level certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language. I have taken some coursework in Watershed Education, as well as Ocean Sciences.

I have been an Instructor in the Adult Basic and Secondary Education department at Lane Community College for 25 years. I have almost always worked at outreach centers, so I see first hand the struggles rural folks face. I have worked with unemployed and injured workers who are trying to get their life back on track. Many of my students feel the hopelessness that is prevalent in our society. I work my best to connect them with services and build their confidence in themselves. Many have succeeded in entering job training and college, but so many more have not been able to overcome their obstacles to success, including proper health care, counseling, transportation and childcare.I see such a great need in West Lane County for increased services and job  opportunities. I hope that if I am elected I work with the other Commissioners to address those needs and be guided by the
people of Lane County to create sustainable prosperity for all of us.

5. Who do you consider your major supporters and campaign donors at this point in time? From whom do you expect to receive donations and support for this campaign?

At this point in time most of my support has come from private donations. I expect to get a donation from Mountain Rose Herbs and from local and statewide unions.

6. As a county commissioner, how would you seek to improve Lane County’s economic health in general? In particular, what do you see as the key to economic development in rural areas of the county?

I think we need to strike a balance between the organic farming industry and the pesticide driven timber industry. Companies like Mountain Rose Herbs that are supporting my campaign employ hundreds of folks. Their sector accounts for 15,000 jobs county wide, which outweighs the timber industry 4:1. I see this as a growth opportunity, and I will pass policies that enable these industries to thrive.

7. Given the history of economic incentives for businesses in Lane County, please explain your degree of support for the use of tax waivers and enterprise zones as a way to stimulate new investment in the county. What other tools do you think the county should use to generate more revenue?

I support enterprise zones and multi-unit property tax exemption waivers. I view these as tools on the belts of local officials that can be used to encourage private development. I believe that projects that take advantage of these incentives should have binding community workforce agreements in place. These agreements should include mandatory apprenticeship requirements, a guaranteed percentage of local workers, pre-apprenticeship program funding, and prevailing wages.

I look to the city of Seattle which has a $0.0175 per ounce soda tax as a way we influence public health decisions and raise revenue for the county. As a county commissioner, I will have a vote on the county board of health. I would support using revenue from the soda tax to go towards county health services including mental health and addiction treatment.

8. How do you view the decision by Lane County and the state of Oregon to raise the age limit to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21 years of age?

With the widespread increase in tobacco use among young people, I support the decision to raise the age limit to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21. I also support an increased education in the area of all substance use, well as tobacco cessation

9. In 2016, the U.S. Census Bureau rated Oregon as the sixth fastest-growing state, increasing pressure to develop outside urban growth boundaries. What is your position on growth and land use protections? How should the county assess and pay for the resulting demand on infrastructure?

It is of the utmost importance that we protect our natural resources. I support sustainable prosperity for our county that will provide a legacy for our future generations. I believe that Jay acted in his donor’s interests in skirting these land use laws. I will make sure we follow a thoughtful land use process when I am commissioner.

10. Do you support the Lane County Board of Commissioners’ 2017 decision to rezone nearly 50 acres in Oakridge from Forest Land to Quarry and Mine to allow a gravel mining operation? Please explain your position.

I stand with members of the Warm Springs Indians. I don’t support the decision to rezone that vulnerable acreage. It is of the utmost importance that we protect our natural resources and act with sensitivity towards cultural needs to protect sacred lands. I support sustainable prosperity for our county that will provide a legacy for our future generations. I will make sure we follow a thoughtful land use process when I am commissioner.

11. What are your views on the possible development of 500 acres south of Lane Community College using historic deeds to circumvent current water, sewer and road regulations?

The Mcdougall brothers are using their undue influence to navigate a backdoor loophole in our land use laws. I believe in the Oregon Land Use system and I support a thoughtful approach to land use. As a county commissioner, I wouldn’t let private interests exploit these loopholes and would work to set policy that accomplishes that.

12. The Freedom From Aerial Herbicides Initiative has collected enough signatures to qualify for the May 18, 2018 ballot, but Lane County has disqualified the initiative. How would you resolve this situation?

The voice of the people needs to be heard, especially when the initiative process is being followed. I think that the Commissioners need to have a work session as possible and place an advisory bill on the ballot in May to discern the opinion of people in Lane County.

13. Do you support the position of the Association of O&C Counties that regeneration harvesting should be used on O&C lands in order to provide county funding? Please explain your position.

1. I don’t support the Association of O&C Counties. I would vote to withdraw Lane County’s membership.
2. I support the state land trust that the Oregon Legislature used to protect and preserve the Elliott State Forest. Using lottery-backed bonds, they created an endowment to satisfy its obligation to the Common School Fund.

14. What do you think Lane County should be doing about climate change?

We need to join other Counties such as Multnomah County in transitioning to non carbon energy sources and use 100% renewable resources. We should ask the voters to support a public bond for a renewable energy facility. This facility can partner with Epud, Eweb, Sub and other publicly owned utilities.

15. Please explain your position on the impact of large-scale cannabis farming and processing in rural Lane County.

We should be thoughtful about land use when we approach this subject. I am concerned about the quality of life impacts of the corporatization of this industry, and don’t want family-owned farms pressured out of business by rising real estate

I will respect the wishes of small towns that have opted-out of OLCC licensed sales through their local process.

16. What is your solution to the county’s current recycling crisis? 

I believe that county government should be proactive in using economic development dollars in developing secondary recycling markets so we do not have to rely on exports to keep our recycling profitable. I hope to work with programs such as precious plastics and get them involved in this effort.

17. What are some steps you would support to help Lane County more effectively deal
with our homeless population?

Lane County should adopt a housing first approach to homelessness. We should examine large public housing projects and go out of our way to waive system development charges and incentivize low-income units. There is a tremendous deficit in the county of low-cost rental units. We should empower our citizens to construct accessory dwelling units in the county building permit process. Studies have shown accessory dwelling units are the fastest way to add low-income housing
unit availability.

We should create a housing application app. It’s a high tech way for renters to find units they qualify for. It also allows landlords to find tenants that have already passed a background check and other common screenings. By locating these services in an app, we can bring down move-in costs which is one of the most substantial barriers to homeless to housed transition.

18. Explain your position on how the county can address the opioid addiction problem.

Our opioid addiction is a major crisis in our country. First of all, the county can educate our healthcare providers and our citizens of the dangers of opioid addiction. Great caution should be taken when prescribing these highly addictive painkillers. We also need\to increase addiction care and counseling services to address this crisis.

19. In your opinion, what impact has Oregon’s approach to the Affordable Care Act had on the health of Lane County citizens? What is your position on Lane County’s decision to contract with Centene, a for-profit company, to run the county’s healthcare programs?

The Affordable Care Act has had a positive impact on the health of Lane County citizens, allowing them greater accessibility to needed services. The county is now eligible to receive Federal Medicaid funding as well. I don’t agree with Lane County’s decision to contract with a for- profit company to run the county’s healthcare programs. Not only does this take away jobs from well qualified county health workers, the people who use these programs will suffer as well. A for-profit company will cut corners on care for our most vulnerable citizens.

20. How would you address the staffing and funding of the Sheriff’s Office to improve law enforcement response times in rural areas of Lane County?

We clearly need more patrol staff for the rural areas of Lane County. We need to look at more city/county policing partnerships such as Creswell and Lane County, where the city police and sheriffs share costs, and more cost-effective community policing options are available. When we remodel the jail we can review layout options requiring fewer staff per inmates so additional officers (FTE) can be freed up to work on patrol. It’s an architectural solution where we can do more with less.

21. Please tell us about any other matter you think voters should know about your candidacy.

I find it very important to listen to the voice of the people and support the democratic process, including initiatives. I support the Siuslaw Vision 2025​ ​to create vibrant rural communities in all areas of our county. I would work cooperatively to build a sustainable economy and bring needed services to the rural areas of Lane County. I support the work of local watershed councils and I would work to protect our natural resources along with providing clean air and water for our future generations.

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