By News-Register staff • 

Elmer widens lead over Ernst in District 24 race

Lucetta Elmer is on her way to a victory in the Oregon Legislative District 24 race, stretching her lead to 2,746 votes over Victoria Ernst, based on unofficial results as of Wednesday.

Elmer, the Republican, had received 13,476 votes to Democrat candidate Ernst’s 10,730 in Polk and Yamhill counties.

Sen. Ron Noble of District 24 initially encouraged Elmer, a McMinnville resident, to consider seeking the seat if he were to step down.

She first said no to Noble, a fellow Republican. Local business interests were keeping her busy enough.

Elmer said she heard from Noble again last fall, and he still wished to see her represent the district in Salem. This time, he made it clear that he would not seek reelection, vying instead for the party’s nomination in the U.S. Sixth Congressional District race.

“Now is the time,” the Linfield University graduate told herself. She said she was intent on returning party balance and bringing voices together in Salem. Transforming Oregon into a more business-friendly state was a priority.

Noble lost to Mike Erickson as the Republican nominee for the Sixth Congressional District seat in the May primary and is facing Democrat Andrea Salinas in the General Election.

Elmer said what the last 20 years of running business ventures with her husband, Denny, have taught her is how to collaborate, be a good listener and how to be understanding of others, all of which she believes would serve her well in Salem.

The Elmers own Union Block Coffee and the block containing their business, the Douglas on Third hotel, and three other businesses leasing space on the east end of Third Street.

They also operate four recreational vehicle parks, two in Central Oregon, one on the south Oregon coast and their newest in the West Valley, adjacent to the Highway 18 intersection with Sheridan Road.

Elmer said mental health is a huge issue and Oregon is not addressing it accordingly.

A University of Oregon undergraduate and McMinnville resident, Ernst worked in hazelnut and nursery operations for a few years, which led to her serving on the Willamette Chapter Board of the Oregon Association of Nurseries as its secretary.

American University in Washington, D.C. is where she received her master’s degree and went to law school.

Her résumé includes working for the European Parliament, United Nations International Law Commission, General Court of the European Union and an international pro bono law firm specializing in areas that include peace negotiations.

“Yamhill County is falling through the cracks, and basic services are not being met,” she said. “There’s been a lack of using resources over the years.”

Ernst acknowledged the need for more funding to go toward mental health challenges and public safety.


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