• Commissioner candidates bring contrasting skill sets

    Rick Dyer wants to focus on job creation; Joel Ockunzzi has experience in land use
  • Two Republicans have stepped into the race for two Jackson County commissioner seats that are up for grabs in November 2014.
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  • Two Republicans have stepped into the race for two Jackson County commissioner seats that are up for grabs in November 2014.
    Medford resident Rick Dyer has filed candidacy papers for the commissioner seat now held by Don Skundrick, who has previously said he won't run again.
    White City resident Joel Ockunzzi filed papers for the commissioner position now held by John Rachor, who said he won't seek a second term.
    "It is a good job," Rachor said. "I enjoyed it."
    He did say working in the public sector has been more difficult than he hoped when he got into office.
    "That's the biggest frustration from someone coming from the business side of things," he said.
    So far no Democrats or nonpartisan candidates have filed for the open seats.
    Dyer, 49, said he's lived in the valley for 37 years, and his major concern is providing jobs to maintain the livability of Jackson County.
    "I want an area where my son can make a living and raise a family like I do," he said.
    Dyer is licensed to practice law in California and owns Northwest Energy Solutions, a construction company focused on home remodeling and energy-efficiency projects.
    He's been on the Rogue Valley Transportation District board for almost five years.
    Ockunzzi, who has lived in the valley for 33 years and ran unsuccessfully for a commissioner seat in 2012, said his experience in the private sector and six years on the Planning Commission make him well-suited for the position.
    "I do come with a unique skill set," he said.
    "I will work hard to give audience to everyone with a divergent point of view."
    Ockunzzi is part of a panel working with Gov. John Kitzhaber that could provide Southern Oregon with more oversight on land-use issues. He was previously on the Jackson County Committee for Citizen Involvement.
    He's also a member of the Chamber of Medford/Jackson County, the Rogue Valley Association of Realtors and Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development. He's involved in the Jackson County Stockman's Association, the Oregon Cattleman's Association and the Oregon Farm Bureau.
    Ockunzzi said the county needs to be prepared for further expansion and needs to entice new businesses to the area.
    The county's budget problems would improve if the area saw an increase in economic activity, Ockunzzi said.
    Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune.com.w
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