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Jackson County Commissioner: Dave Dotterrer

Jackson County voters have two highly qualified candidates to choose from for county commissioner on Nov. 3. Either one would be a solid choice.

The Republican nominee, Dave Dotterrer of Ashland, is a retired U.S. Marine Corps colonel, with a background in administration and budgets, having served as military assistant to the secretary of the Navy at the Pentagon. He ran unsuccessfully twice for the state Senate, then served as a budget analyst for State Rep. Dennis Richardson and chief of staff for Richardson’s transition team when he was elected Oregon’s secretary of state. A native Oregonian, he grew up in Eugene. He is chairman of the board of Logos Public Charter School in Medford, and a past member of the Ashland Planning Commission.

The Democrat, Terrie Martin of Phoenix, grew up in Jackson County, graduating from what is now Southern Oregon University. She is a former reporter for the Mail Tribune, a journalism instructor at SOU and co-owner of D&S Harley-Davidson, the family business founded by her parents. The business burned in the Almeda fire. Martin served as a board member and president of the Southern Oregon Historical Society.

The two are running to replace Commissioner Bob Strosser, who is retiring from the three-member Board of Commissioners. The winner will serve alongside Commissioners Rick Dyer and Colleen Roberts.

Both candidates say they would approach the job in a nonpartisan manner. Martin said she supports changing the county charter to create a five-member, nonpartisan board elected by geographic region. Dotterrer opposes geographic representation, but says he views the position as nonpartisan.

Dotterrer and Martin agree on several issues, including the inadequacy of the county emergency response to the recent fires that destroyed thousands of homes and forced widespread evacuations.

Dotterrer says he would put together a team of officials to analyze what went wrong and plan for future disasters. That is his answer to the rebuilding process as well: to put together a policy team of commissioners and mayors who would serve as a “board of directors” for the recovery process, and include Federal Emergency Management Agency and state officials as well.

Martin speaks eloquently about her own family’s harrowing experience as the fire swept through Phoenix — sheltering in her rural home with her evacuated parents and trying to get information without power or internet access. Her son, who lives in Los Angeles, was monitoring emergency traffic online and relaying updates by cellphone.

She calls the county’s response a “colossal failure,” and pledges to involve county residents in finding solutions.

Both are highly intelligent and sincere. The difference comes down to experience.

Dotterer has governmental experience at the national, state and local levels that Martin cannot match, and a deep background in strategic and operational planning from his years in the Marine Corps, which that will serve him and the Rogue Valley well as we begin the process of rebuilding.

Either Martin or Dotterrer would be capable, talented additions to the Board of Commissioners, but Dotterrer’s experience gives him the edge.

We recommend voters choose Dave Dotterrer for Jackson County commissioner.