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McClain, Casaleggio, Lerner Thompson win Jville council seats

Jacksonville residents cast a vote of confidence for two incumbents Tuesday and chose a relative newcomer to serve on City Council over the next four years.

Incumbents Mike McClain and Steve Casaleggio emerged victorious, along with Jacksonville Boosters Club president Andrea Lerner Thompson.

Initial tallies showed McClain with 1,359 votes — or just over 28%. Thompson trailed slightly with 1,315 votes (27.4%), and Casaleggio garnered 1,223, or 25%.

McClain, who was appointed to fill a vacancy just over a year ago, said the outcome was a “vote of confidence” and “very humbling.” A nine-year resident of Jacksonville, McClain had previously served on the city’s Budget Committee. He was in public education for 32 years, nine of those as superintendent of the Central Point School District.

“I wasn’t elected this last time. I got appointed and was given a chance to get my feet wet and to really understand the ins and out and whether or not I wanted to run and continue to serve,” he said.

“I’ve found we have an extremely cohesive council. When we disagree, we do it agreeably and it really works out for everyone.”

McClain said he was excited to see ongoing work to upgrade the historic county courthouse — the town’s new City Hall and council chambers — and to see expansion and improvement to the city’s fire station.

McClain said he was a big proponent of acquiring available grant funds to help reduce fire fuels around the historic town.

“Given our situation with fires in Oregon and California, if we can work on reducing those fuels, I think that would be great. We had a presentation tonight from FEMA representatives, and there are state grant monies available,” he said.

I am especially interested in that and a number of things happening right now. We have what I like to call a unique little village, and I am anxious to be a part of it. I am humbled by all the people who thought this old guy could do some things to help the city. I’m happy for the chance to do that.”

While he came in fourth with just under 900 votes, candidate Scott Selbe, a Citizens Advisory Committee member, was grateful he could continue in his current role for his town.

“I just wanted to serve and I felt like, even if I didn’t win the council seat, it would be fine because I’m still on the Citizens Advisory Committee. So I’ll certainly continue to do that,” Selbe said.

Lerner Thompson, chair of the city’s Committee for Citizen Involvement and president of the Jacksonville Boosters Club, and Casaleggio, a longtime resident first elected to the City Council in 2016, were unavailable for immediate comment Tuesday night.

Reach freelance writer Buffy Pollock at buffyp76@yahoo.com.

Downtown Jacksonville