Q&A: Andrew Watson
If elected, what would be your top priority while in office?
My experience, my background is in law enforcement. My top priority is law enforcement. I think the key to a good City Council is balance, having different perspectives, different skill sets, so you can come together and share ideas. Working with parole and probation, I work with all community law enforcement. I’d make sure that we work collaboratively, that they have the tools, the resources they need to perform the tough job that they have. If you don’t have a community where people are safe, they’re not going to want to open businesses, they’re not going to want to live here.
Do you think recreational marijuana should be legalized?
I do not support the legalization of recreational marijuana. I will definitely be voting no on Measure 91. It’s still against federal law. From a personal perspective, I’ve seen too many problems of marijuana addiction and the health problems that it brings. I just don’t think it’s a good policy. Jackson County has a very high use of illicit drugs, of mental health (issues). I don’t think it's going to help that. I look at Colorado, I look at Washington, and I see how much money is coming in from the taxes. I will certainly support whatever the voters decide. I think the City Council did a great job of getting ahead of this, on how can we end up taxing this.
Should the city continue its ban on medical marijuana dispensaries?
I do support (the moratorium). I don’t think medical marijuana is very well regulated. I think it needs to be tightened up. I think there are legitimate medical reasons, I just think until we see how Measure 91 falls out, it’s better to hold off on something and do it the correct way and be prudent about it.
How should the city deal with homeless people who cause problems in the parks?
Long before I decided to run for City Council, as part of my church I go down on Saturday mornings and I cook breakfast for (the homeless) for the Salvation Army. That’s been a huge eye-opener. There’s a huge part of that population that are veterans, that are families, and they’re just hungry. They just need a little extra. I support helping those people. There are plenty of nonprofits in Medford that will provide the food. The city needs to work collaboratively with these organizations. There’s a certain population of the homeless that have mental health issues, that have substance abuse issues. It may not be appropriate to serve in Hawthorne Park. That may be too much of a problem. So we have to look at other avenues. I think you have to be safe.
How would you be different as a leader?
I believe I bring a balance to the council. I have a skill set in 19 years almost to citizens of Jackson County in public safety. I’ve been a leader in my organization. I’m a compassionate person, I’m very open minded, I'm willing to listen to any point of view. I believe in Jackson County and the city of Medford.