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Candidates for Jackson County Commissioner Position 1

Frank W. Brannen, Independent

Age: 41

Residence: Shady Cove, Oregon

Occupation: Business Development Manager & Small Business Owner

Education: Course of study in Business Administraton, University of La Verne

Political experience: Candidate, Oregon State Representative Dist 55; Director, Libertarian Party of Oregon

What would you do to ensure clean air (free from choking wildfire smoke) in our county?

Aggressively seek input from fire agencies, OSU Forest Management, loggers and others with expertise. Bring all the stakeholders to the table to rapidly form and execute a plan to mitigate fuels in our forests and strengthen our ability to respond to fires when they break out.

Do you support building a new jail? Why or why not?

We absolutely need a new jail. Our current jail is inefficient and can no longer serve the needs of our growing community. A new jail will allow us to safely house more of the people who victimize our communities with a lower deputy to inmate ratio requirement.

What would you do to encourage economic growth in the county?

Crime is out of control in Jackson County. We need to make our communities safer, create conditions for more affordable housing and improve our civic amenities. Making Jackson County a great place to live and work will draw more and larger employers and create more opportunities to earn comfortable livings.

Rick Dyer, Republican incumbent

Age: 54

Residence: 4287 Tamarack Drive, Medford 97504

Occupation: Jackson County Commissioner

Education: JD - Concord Law School, BS - Business Administration/Accounting, Southern Oregon University

Political experience: Jackson County Commissioner, Position 1 - 2015-present, Board Chair 2016, 2018. Rogue Valley Transportation District Board of Directors, 2009-2014.

What would you do to ensure clean air (free from choking wildfire smoke) in our county?

We need a comprehensive plan including management policy changes for the long-term and adequate and available suppression resources for more immediate results. I will continue to fight for fuels reduction, sustainable harvesting, road maintenance for access and fire breaks and dedicated helitankers for immediate suppression and prevention of catastrophic wildfires.

Do you support building a new jail? Why or why not?

Additional jail capacity is critical to the efficient and effective law enforcement and criminal justice efforts in Jackson County. Lack of jail space negatively impacts our public safety, quality of life, economy and ability to rehabilitate offenders. Commissioners are currently working on alternatives to build capacity with lower taxpayer burden.

What would you do to encourage economic growth in the county?

Continue to recruit and encourage the launch and expansion of business in Jackson County. However, the greatest opportunity to generate economic growth most dramatically is in workforce development. Training people to fill lucrative career positions that are needed by Southern Oregon industry now will build long-term growth and stability.

Amy Thuren, Democrat

Age: 39

Residence: Medford

Occupation: Executive Director, The Valley School

Education: BA - Political Science, UCSB

Political experience: I have never held elected office, but I have worked with elected officials and municipalities for most of my professional life.

What would you do to ensure clean air (free from choking wildfire smoke) in our county?

No one can ensure clean air, but we can do things to reduce the chances of choking from wildfire smoke. I will work with local, state, and federal fire and smoke officials to develop evidence based, practical forest management plans to thin fire intolerant trees and burn fuels during the wet seasons.

Do you support building a new jail? Why or why not?

Yes. We need to continue to have space to incarcerate, punish, and rehabilitate criminals. However, I will only support building a new jail if we directed resources to mental healthcare and addiction services, so we could get upstream of the problem and work on prevention and treatment.

What would you do to encourage economic growth in the county?

When the Clean Energy Jobs Bill passes at the state level, I will champion it here to bring living wage, 21st Century jobs to Jackson County. I will also bring together the Economic Development Committee, which hasn't met in two years to develop a strong plan for encouraging companies to bring jobs here.

Frank Brannen, Rick Dyer, Amy Thuren