By editorial board • 

Bridges a clear choice in commissioner race

We strongly endorse Debra Bridges, director of crime victim services in the district attorney’s office, for Seat 3 on the Yamhill County Board of Commissioners.

Bridges, a resident of rural Dundee, has a wealth of countywide experience in critical areas of human services and law enforcement. Her unique set of qualifications and passions will best fit the three-member board in a year of county government turnover that will include a new judge, a new sheriff and, for the first time in anyone’s memory, two new commissioners.

Bridges worked in key roles with the Yamhill Community Action Partnership and the Yamhill County Commission on Children and Families. She was director of Yamhill County United Way before moving into the DA’s office nine years ago. Those experiences put Bridges in touch with the needs of people throughout the county and its 10 communities, and the diversity of her family residency and workplace experiences gives her countywide connectivity missing from her two opponents.

The three-way race includes former media personality and political activist Mary Starrett, and George Fox professor Marc Shelton, a former Newberg City Councilor.

Shelton, known for his seven-year tenure as principal of Newberg High School, has a good knowledge about and thoughtful approach to county issues. However, his late entry and limited approach to the campaign seems to guarantee him a third-place finish in the commissioner race.

Starrett’s interests span from local veteran organizations to foster programs, and in well-documented political activities she has championed limited government and conservative social views. While that combination plays strongly in parts of Yamhill County, Starrett’s sole connection with county government is her narrow loss to Commissioner Mary Stern four years ago.

Bridges has expertise in fields spanning the courthouse. The thick skin required for dealing with crime victims on a daily basis is a trait that will serve her well in an arena that requires difficult and sometimes unpopular policy decisions. Her work in public safety and human services will provide needed perspective with both Kathy George and Stern leaving office. She believes that county economic development has as much to do with creating a sound business environment — roads, crime levels, schools, etc. — as with personally wooing companies and industries to the area.

Bridges has an easy-to-work-with candor and a moderate take on what it means to be a county commissioner. Political ideology has its place in government, but being a commissioner primarily requires nonpartisan decision-making on issues with many tones of gray. Of the three candidates, Bridges is best equipped to work within county government and with other local governments and citizen groups.

There are times when the electorate can benefit from a general election run-off between the top two vote-getters in May. This is a time when Yamhill County voters would do best by electing Debra Bridges outright with a majority of primary election votes.

Editor’s Note: Because Sal Peralta, one of five candidates seeking Seat 1 on the commission, is employed by the News-Register, we will not be making an endorsement in that race.



" a year of county government turnover that will include....for the first time in anyone’s memory, two new commissioners."

What's with all the short-term memory loss down at the NR?

County government welcomed "two new commissioners" following the 2002 election, as well as following the 1994 election.

It is true that this is the first commissioner election, in quite some time, featuring two races without an incumbent seeking re-election, but that requires a different statement.

It is too bad that the NR will refrain from making an endorsement for the other commissioner race. I understand erring on the side of caution to avoid any appearance of insider bias, or possibly creating a hostile work environment for Sal, but I think it short-changes the readers of the newspaper, as well as the other candidates who may be looking for an honest assessment of their fit in the community, through the eyes of local media.

Don Dix

Well put, Spongebob, well put indeed!

Jeb Bladine

Absolutely correct about the misstatement concerning "two new commissioners." It represented a mental glitch stemming from an earlier recognition that it's the first time in memory with no incumbents in the races, thus guaranteeing two new commissioners. As you note, incumbents have lost in previous elections, resulting in two new commissioners.
As for the other race, we followed a long-standing policy, last used when former News-Register Viewpoints Editor Cassie Sollars ran for county commissioner.
Your interest in our thoughts about that race would have been lost in a flurry of criticism if we endorsed Sal, and as you noted, our workplace would suffer if we endorsed a different candidate. With that kind of built-in conflict of interests, we chose to sit that one out as we have done in the past.

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