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Talbert is the right choice for commissioner

Kevin Talbert, the Independent Party candidate for Jackson County commissioner, position 3, has collected endorsements from both outgoing Republicans on the Board of Commissioners, former Commissioner C.W. Smith, also a Republican, and former Commissioner Dave Gilmour, a Democrat. That should be all the evidence voters need to mark Talbert's name on the Nov. 4 general election ballot, but there is more.

Talbert is a registered Democrat, but secured the Independent Party nomination after no Democrat filed for the open seat in the May primary, leaving Republican Colleen Roberts as the only candidate. Enough Democratic voters wrote in Roberts' name to give her the Democratic nomination as well. If Talbert had not entered the race, Roberts would have been the only candidate listed on the general election ballot.

Roberts is touting that as evidence of bipartisan support for her candidacy. Don't be misled.

Roberts defeated her primary opponent, Joel Ockunzzi, 11,156 votes to 9,6667. On the Democratic side, write-in votes totaled 969 — not all of them for Roberts. At the same time, the undervote on the Democratic side was 23,322. That's how many Democrats didn't write in Roberts' name or anyone else's.

Roberts, the owner of a bakery in Eagle Point, is an extreme anti-government conservative who misreads the Constitution. She has advocated "taking back" federal forest land under the mistaken belief that the land once belonged to the state. In a candidate forum last month, Roberts asserted that the Constitution says the federal government can own no more than 10 square miles of land in any state. The 10-square-mile figure appears in Article I, Section 8, which provides for creating the District of Columbia as the nation's capital. It has nothing to do with state land anywhere else, but Roberts and her supporters apparently are convinced it does.

Republican County Commissioner John Rachor, who has endorsed Talbert, expresses concern that Roberts does not understand how the county budget works, despite his attempts to explain the process to her. She has advocated refusing federal money out of concern over federal control, but offers no plan to replace those dollars. 

Talbert, a retired Southern Oregon University administrator, advocates a common-sense, non-ideological approach to addressing county problems and meeting public needs. His campaign is focusing on economic development and job creation, focused especially on the technology sector and on specialized agriculture.

Talbert says the just-passed ban on genetically modified crops makes Jackson County unique in the state, and it should capitalize on that by promoting organic, GMO-free crops and food products. He supports spending county dollars locally whenever possible to boost the local economy.

Talbert also advocates making the office of commissioner nonpartisan, a change we support.

We recommend Kevin Talbert for the Jackson County Board of Commissioners, Position 3.