By David Jaques
Roseburg, Ore-Within the last two days of the candidate filing deadline for the May 2016 primary election, the field of candidates for Douglas County Board of Commissioners Position 1 doubled, from four to eight, three of the four newcomers filing on March 8, the last day.
This new development seems to accent the drama over the coming election of the next Douglas County Commissioner, after Susan Morgan was first denied ballot access due to the term limits imposed by nearly seventy percent of county voters, who then sued to have the measure overturned and get her name on the ballot, only to then withdraw from the contest altogether.
Morgan, when citing the reason for her withdrawal, claimed that her candidacy might prove to be a distraction due to the controversial lawsuit she had filed against the county clerk. Others speculated that by her going against the seventy percent who supported term limits, polling likely showed she could not win.
Another candidate, Mark Garcia, also withdrew his candidacy this week citing changing priorities in his business plans, and less than hoped for campaign contributions. Garcia sent out a press release announcing his withdrawal and his endorsement of Gary Leif, who is running his second time for commissioner. Garcia stated; “Gary has years, even decades of service to the people of Douglas County. He's a nice guy, and he's well respected. He shares my vision concerning the role which limited government can play in enabling private sector companies to create jobs and prosperity. So, for these reasons I give Gary Leif my full and unreserved endorsement to be our next County Commissioner.”
The current list of candidates (in order of filing date) is: Gary Leif (9/10/15); Dennis Rogers (10/26/15); Joel “J.D.” Parks (2-4-16); Victoria Hawks (2/25/16); Nancy “Morgan” Lee (3-7-16); Dale Bryson (3-8-16); Dave Leonard (3-8-16); and Ricky “RL” Roberts (3-8-16).
Gary Leif, owner of Leif photography, ran for the county commissioner seat vacated by Doug Robertson’s resignation in 2013, the seat now held by Chris Boice. In the November 2014 election, Leif, in a four way race, received 38% of the vote to Boice’s 42% garnering 12,514 votes. Leif is registered republican and a resident of Roseburg.
Dennis Rogers, in his first run for public office, lists “Dispensary Manager” as his current occupation. He has a background in sheet metal and was a member of Sheet Metal Workers Local 104. In his filing statement Rogers said he “will bring the power back to the people via limited government, lower taxes and fees, and limited regs and ordinances.” Rogers’ voter registration is listed as “non-affiliated” and he is a resident of Roseburg.
Joel “JD” Parks, also a first time candidate, is a musician, and lists Towing and Recovery Operator as his current profession, and has a background in mechanics. He is a founder of the Heirs of Patrick Henry, Northwest, and has been active in local and regional politics and community affairs. Parks is listed as a “non-affiliated” voter and is a resident of Azalea.
Victoria Hawks, the Principal Broker and owner of Hawks and Company Realtors, is a current member of the Roseburg City Council, and the Douglas County Planning Commission. Her past employment includes owner of The Woodmen Firewood Company, and accounting and bookkeeping services for Douglas Electric Co-Op. Hawks is a registered democrat and a resident of Roseburg.
Nancy “Morgan” Lee lists no previous political office, though she has served on the Coastal Planning Advisory Committee for the past 20 years, an appointed position. She also lists herself as an Investigator/Researcher into government waste, overreach, and abuse of Federal Agencies, especially those that were detrimental to local ranchers, farmers, fisherman, or loggers. Lee is a registered republican and a resident of the Reedsport area.
Dale Bryson lists as his current occupation, Adjunct Professor of Mathematics at UCC, a position he has held since 2004. As prior experience he lists US Navy Civil Service as a Mathematician and Operations Research Analyst. Bryson received his PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from U of O. He is registered as a democrat and is a resident of Roseburg.
Dave Leonard lists as his current profession, Engineer. He was formerly the Public Works Director for Douglas County, and a member of Douglas County Industrial Development Board and the Roseburg Airport Commission. Leonard also served on the Douglas County Planning Commission. He is a registered republican and a resident of Winchester.
Ricky “RL” Roberts, is currently retired and did not provide his previous employment experience in his original filing. He is a U.S. Marine Corps Combat Veteran and listed prior training at San Onofre Nuclear Generating station. Roberts is registered as a “non-affiliated” voter, and is a resident of Roseburg.
The candidates for commissioner, a non-partisan office, will appear in numerous public forums between now and the May 17 primary election. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the total votes cast, the top two candidates will face off in the November General Election.