By editorial board • 

Tap Primozich, Rojas for November runoff

All four candidates for Position 1 on the county board of commissioners are serious about their campaigns, reflected in a set of uniformly thoughtful and engaging editorial board presentations.

We don’t envision current officeholder Stan Primozich missing the top-two cut in the May 15 primary, considering the advantages of incumbency and almost 30 years of local public service. But given three motivated challengers, each with a natural constituency, neither do we see him earning the majority support to avoid a November runoff.

That made our mission identifying the opponent who would give him the best challenge, the community the best campaign and the voters the best alternative.

We settled on Josh Rojas, who spent five years in adult mental health in Coos County before returning home to become a youth care coordinator with the conty’s Department of Health and Human Services. He would have to interrupt a promising career but is prepared to make that sacrifice.

A McMinnville High and Linfield College grad, Rojas displays the knowledge, insights, energy and balanced demeanor we look for in candidates. He combines articulate delivery of his own thoughts with attentive and perceptive absorption of thoughts offered in return. We find his candidacy highly credible.

The other challengers are Casey Kulla, a Grand Island farmer eyeing a career shift into law and politics, and Jason Yates, a Newberg pest control specialist active in Republican Party politics.

Like Rojas, they are young family people intent on making the world a better place for the next generation. But we felt Rojas made the most compelling case for election and displayed the best preparation for service.

Primozich studied business at Southwestern College and Eastern Washington University, then embarked on a retailing career that took him to Arizona. He’s spent the last 33 years as a financial adviser with Prudential in McMinnville.

He’s served 21 years on the St. James Parish Council and 24 years on the McMinnville School Board. He won election to the board of commissioners four years ago.

He is best known for championing economic development and the Yamhellas Westsider Trail.

Rojas rose to prominence after being elected, then re-elected, president of the Yamhill County Employees Association. Last year, he led the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees local in a bruising round of contract negotiations, ultimately settled just short of a strike.

His personal style is collaborative rather than confrontational. He operates on a value system that understands the potential for compromise in every issue.

However, the county dug in hard, as did the troops he was leading, sorely testing his penchant for finding a middle way.

If elected, Rojas is also committed to seeking common ground on other contentious issues, including the Westsider Trail and Riverbend Landfill. He believes competing concerns can be addressed sufficiently to secure broad popular support.

We think a fall campaign between Primozich and Rojas would best serve the electorate.



I asked Kulla a simple question on Facebook, which as I write this he has refused to answer: how would he vote on IP 43 and 44. I would respect him if he answered yes or no, but his long, deflecting response to me is alarming.

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