By Nathalie Hardy • Columnist • 

Yamhill County commissioner to lead Oregon counties

Yamhill County Commissioner Mary Stern has been elected president of the Association of Oregon Counties for 2013.

Stern, who has two years remaining her third and final term, is the first commissioner from Yamhill County to serve as AOC president. She was elected during AOC’s annual convention in Eugene.

“It’s a good feeling when your peers think enough of you to elect you to a position of trust,” she said. “I’m honored.”

AOC’s elected leadership is charged with representing the common interests of the state’s 36 counties in dealings with the state’s legislative and executive branches in Salem, so maintains a significant lobbying presence there.

“We’re partners serving the same constituents,” Stern said of the state and its counties. She characterized association leaders as “a group of county officials who want to promote the best interest of the state and county citizens we serve.”

Columbia County Commissioner Earl Fisher was elected first vice president, Sherman County Judge Gary Thompson second vice president and Polk County Commissioner Craig Pope treasurer. The new officers join Deschutes County Commissioner Tammy Baney, the association’s immediate past president, and Executive Director Mike McArthur, leader of its paid administrative staff, on the executive team

Stern said she was thrilled to advance to the lead role.

“AOC provides a critical voice for local governments, ensuring that state and federal leaders are educated on issues that affect all of our constituents,” she said. “I am excited to carry that voice forward and work collaboratively with our governmental partners at all levels.”

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