By editorial board • 

Starrett’s commitment deserves a re-election

It isn’t often we find ourselves aligned with Oregon Right to Life, the Oregon Firearms Federation, Oregonians in Action, the Taxpayer Association of Oregon and other outfits of such pronounced conservative bent. We can ordinarily be found hugging the moderate middle.

We are, in fact, opting to join them in endorsing the re-election campaign of Yamhill County Commissioner Mary Starrett. But we are taking that step despite — not because of — a personal political heritage hewing to the far right end of the spectrum, where the Constitution Party holds forth.

Starrett may emulate Ayn Rand on hot-button issues on the national level, but she more closely reflects Mother Teresa in her stewardship of health, welfare and social service programs on the county level.

She is deeply invested in the county’s foster care, addiction recovery, troubled youth and homeless outreach programs. While she rarely seems to see government as part of the solution nationally, she clearly sees it as part of the answer locally, working in partnership with both faith-based and secular nonprofits to stretch taxpayer dollars further.

One of the things she touts on her campaign website is “working with YCAP’s Youth Outreach to bring a drop-in center and youth transition program to include housing, job training, continuing education and support services to McMinnville.” That’s something her liberal-leaning predecessor, McMinnville Habitat for Humanity Director Mary Stern, could embrace with equal enthusiasm.

When Starrett challenged Stern in 2010, we were afraid she would eschew nitty gritty work in the trenches for national political posturing, that she was more interested in promoting her ideology providing good government. So we were relieved when she lost.

We were no more enamored of her candidacy in 2014, when term limits forced Stern to step down. We called her opponent, public services’ veteran Debra Bridges, “a clear choice” in the race.

We also harbored concern post-election when Starrett was awarded the county’s health and human services portfolio. We felt that’s the arena in which her hawkish social issue views might create the most havoc.

But she has committed heart and soul to her duties during her four-year tenure. No one on the board has displayed a greater allegiance to hard work, ethical conduct and official transparency.

We take strong exception to her Yamhelas Westsider Trail opposition, which we consider ill-founded and overly strident. And we were dismayed when she couldn’t resist signing on, early in her term, to a couple of pointless resolutions embracing her conservative ideology.

Overall, though, the former Portland media personality has performed admirably. She has vastly exceeded our expectations. In the process, she has earned our endorsement for re-election.

Starrett has drawn two challengers — affable local gadfly David Wall, who is running no discernible campaign, and earnest social issues advocate Chelsey Williams, who is mounting a low-cost grassroots bid.

Williams is sincere and well-meaning, but seems seriously outgunned in this race. We feel Starrett turned in the kind of performance that’s earned her another term on the job.



Thank you Newsregister. I appreciate that you think I am sincere and well-meaning. I also appreciate that you paint me as the under-dog. I am happy to play David to Mary's Goliath.


Mother Teresa??!!! Seriously??? I’m completely underwhelmed with her performance. I’m very interested in Chelsea Williams and am eager to learn more.


Mother Teresa??!!! Seriously??? I’m completely underwhelmed with her performance. I’m very interested in Chelsea Williams and am eager to learn more.


More of Mary Starrett?....NO. I am looking for someone who doesn't hold extremist's views...a candidate that will do the people's business...not ram rod a personal agenda. Someone who will take personal responsibility and action.


One thousand times no.


As I drive our county roads I see many signs indicating support for this woman so I will assume that the N/R endorsement reflects the opinions of a segment of local citizens. I do not, however, think this endorsement reflects what is best for Yamhill County. Ms. Starrett is far too extreme and unresponsive to her constituents for some of us, especially now when democracy is already under assault from the top. As we await the election, let us have faith in the aforementioned “grassroots.”

(And given the politics of the person at issue here, “….outgunned…” is a cringe-worthy reference.)


We need a high caliber opponent that will be a straight shooter......:)


Mother Teresa wasn't genuine kindness all her hype implied. Wolf of ideology behind that kind smile. Oregon is not Idaho. Her ideology belongs in Idaho. I'm sure there is great property in Sandpoint with the other Constitutional Libertarians.


Shame on you NR! Why do you decide to turn a blind eye to the crazy ideology or this woman. She didn’t ‘sign on to the two resolutions, she introduced them. Why do you support a candidate that in 2003 wrote, in her weekly column on “News With Views’ website wrote a defense of Eric Rudolph in an article titled “Run Rudy Run”. He admitted to a string of abortion clinic bombing and the bombing at the Atlantic Olympics in 1996, killing three people. She also blessed us with an article singling out Dr George Tiller of Wichita for abuse titled “Tiller the killer. Dr tiller was assasinated by an abortion protester. Starrett also referred to Randy Weaver, who had well documented ties to the Aryan Nations and the anti Semitic group “Christian Identity” as “ a separatist, which means we are all separatists, I’m a separatist....I live on a mountain top”. On 2/28/2007 in a presentation to the Portland 911 Truth Alliance on the 9-11 attack...”If I had to go on record I would say, yeah, it was an inside job”. This sort of history should be enough to support a better candidate.


Exactly, Yamhillbilly2!


I am extremely disappointed in this endorsement. Usually the NR is able to see through the front that a candidate puts up. This commissioner will say anything that she thinks will result in getting a vote. She is a puppet of her extremist brother Kevin. The things that yamhillbilly2 pointed out should be shocking to all of us, especially the NR. Please, do not compare her to someone with true compassion and values like Mother Teresa. We can and should do much better than Mary Starrett.......


This is the same Mary Starrett who doesn't think the commissioners should be engaged in long range planning and goal setting? I'm voting for change!


Mary was the only Commisioner who did not obligate us to a undefined debt of multimillions on a bike trail through farm fields!

Farmers have to spray their crops to grow our food, this trail will be a huge liability to them and us poor folks trying to pay the rent so you Multnomah county transplants can ride bikes through our fields!

Thank you News Register, lets keep Yamhill County fiscally responsible. Olson has to go!

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