By editorial board • 

Geary has earned election to a second term on city council

When Zack Geary succeeded Alan Ruden on the McMinnville City Council in 2019, he followed a path laid out by his predecessor, and in remarkably similar fashion.

Ruden spent many years investing portions of his time in civic affairs, serving on boards, commissions and task forces, before seeking appointment to the council in 2004. Losing out to accountant Kellie Menke, he joined the McMinnville Planning Commission, and ran through leadership chairs at the chamber, before mounting a winning council election campaign in 2010.

Geary began establishing his leadership credentials during his years at Mac High, gaining experience through campus leadership posts and community volunteer missions. As he moved into adulthood, starting a family and launching a career in custom homebuilding, he continued with a heavy diet of involvement in civic and business community affairs.

After challenging Ruden unsuccessfully in 2014, Geary followed Ruden’s lead by joining the planning commission and eventually becoming its vice-chair. When Geary filed for council again in 2018, Ruden initially filed for re-election, then decided to cede the seat to his younger rival.

Historically, that sort of prior service has been a common denominator in McMinnville. It has prepared councilors to hit the ground running in first terms and use the experience to deepen and broaden involvement in subsequent terms.

They have invested in the city. The city has invested in them in return and reaped particular dividends as they have developed mastery of the city’s inner workings.

Now seeking a second term in Ward 2, Geary is facing a challenge from George Humlie.

Humlie drives a garbage truck by day, but is better known in the community as an accomplished musician, father of a trio of equally accomplished musicians and founder of the Humlie School of Music. The trio recently won national acclaim with an impressive run on America’s Got Talent followed by release of a well-regarded album.

Geary has plunged into council service with zeal, drive and commitment. He has quickly become a key contributor, most notably through his leadership of the drive to upgrade the community center, senior center, library and aquatic center facilities. 

Humlie has no quarrel with Geary’s service.

He was moved to seek office by what he views as an alarming wave of national crime, division and discord. And at the city level, his options were limited to Ward 2, where he has resided for many years.

He terms himself a peacemaker oriented to bringing people together. He said he’s a big advocate of better police and fire staffing, but not of raising taxes or raiding funds for parks, libraries, streets and other essentials for McMinnville families like his.

Humlie is personable, well-meaning and well-connected. We think he could eventually grow into a meaningful council contributor.

However, like Geary and Ruden, we think he should first go about establishing a broader and deeper resume of involvement, including a component like planning commission service. 

We’ve made an investment in Geary that’s just beginning to pay big dividends. We think he deserves at least one more term to continue making his mark at city hall.

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