Marcus Larson/News-Register##County Commissioner candidate Casey Kulla celebrates with friends, family and supporters at 3rd Street Pizza in McMinnville following release of initial election results gave him a  sizable lead over incumbent Stan Primozich.
Marcus Larson/News-Register##County Commissioner candidate Casey Kulla celebrates with friends, family and supporters at 3rd Street Pizza in McMinnville following release of initial election results gave him a sizable lead over incumbent Stan Primozich.
By Nicole Montesano • Staff Writer • 

Voters select Kulla for Yamhill County commissioner

[Updated Friday10:15 a.m.]

Yamhill County farmer Casey Kulla won a seat on the Yamhill County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, winning 55.6 percent, to incumbent Stan Primozich’s 44.09 percent.

“The only thing I can say is I have been proud to serve the people of Yamhill County, and I certainly am sorry I am not going to be able to continue to do that,” Primozich said Tuesday evening.

He added however, that he had “given totally of myself,” and feels proud of the work he has done.

“We have a lot of things to be proud of in Yamhill County and I have worked ... to make my hopes and dreams for Yamhill County a reality.”

It was standing room only at Third Street Pizza in McMinnville on election night, where Kulla was being mobbed by excited supporters.

It was his first run for public office. Kulla said he had applied for a seat on the county planning commission, but never heard back.

The campaign was marked by its participants’ courtesy and focus on the issues rather than on attacking each other. Primozich and Kulla debated the merits of experience versus new ideas and priorities ranging from continued focus on economic development to addressing the challenges of water scarcity in a warming climate.

Rusty Rae/News-Register##County Cmmissioner Stan Primozich addresses family and supporters during his election night party at the Ken Wright Tasting Room in Carlon, shortly after initial results showed him with a large deficit.

Kulla said he had received an e-mail from Primozich offering hopes that he would “find the office as satisfying and rewarding as I have.”

However, he said, that isn’t his goal.
“I don’t expect it to be satisfying or rewarding to me, I just want to see the county led from a different perspective. I just want county residents to feel heard and feel safe as the world changes around them.

“Because I have a lot of really rewarding things in my life already and I don’t think that’s why people elected me,” he said.

Kulla said he has an ambitious set of goals, including greatly increasing the rate at which county roads and bridges are repaired, eliminating erosion and increasing native vegetation along county roads, improving worker morale, boosting county transparency, initiating a charter review committee to look into changing to five elected commissioners, sending out a survey to all county residents, and addressing climate change. He said he’d also like to fund installation of utility-scale solar arrays on county land, change the structure of the parks department, and increase the county’s earthquake resilience.

He said he wants to “increase accessibility by moving my office to the front porch of Fenton House and providing for ‘office’ hours where all are invited to chat/complain/offer/volunteer/question.”

“It’s a tremendous, tremendous moment, I feel like, in the county,” he said. “We have neighbors on the island [with whom] we don’t share political views at all – there’s like no overlap – and yet they supported me. It’s very humbling. It’s a good feeling.”


fir tree

This is fantastic news! Maybe now there will be an end to the weekly string of lawsuits against the County. Maybe now there can be some sort and long range planning as Commissioner Olson has wanted to do. Maybe now there can be an end to the skyrocketing costs of bloated administrative overhead. Maybe now the employees can get some reasonable respect for the tremendous jobs they do.


Right. Maybe not. This guy couldn't even answer a simple question from me about a voter initiative this summer. I am definitely not retiring in this state.


Sad. But it's not the first time the lefty's have snuck in one of their own in a supposedly "non partisan" race here in center/right Yamhill County. They did the same thing with Mary Stern a few years ago and we survived. We'll survive this guy too.


"fir tree," you are spot on, this is excellent news for Yamhill County! Congratulations to Mr. Kulla and the wisdom of the voters. It is said that all politics are local. I am profoundly grateful that the U.S. House of Representatives is now on track to actually fulfill the obligations of the Constitution and provide some desperately needed oversight for an administration run amok, but the positive changes here at home will have an even more immediate impact on the quality of life for our beautiful little corner of the world. It is a bright new day in America.

To the naysayers who have posted their dissatisfaction I say give this good man a chance. You might just be pleasantly (if grudgingly) surprised.

Bill B

yes treefarmer; on a national level, get ready to pay more taxes and get less social security. Maybe you aren't on a fixed income yet but some day you will.

Mac Native 66

This man probably will kill a much needed transportation corridor that desperately needs to be rebuilt.


Bill B

Recently I watched that reddest of Republicans, Mitch McConnell, musing aloud about how our “entitlements,” i.e. Medicare and Social Security, were going to need some “adjustments” to compensate for that fat tax break recently gifted to the rich and the big corporations. The only thing that surprised me about his objective was how shamelessly matter-of-fact he was about stating it. (Evidence that absolute power corrupts absolutely perhaps?) Do YOU consider Social Security to be an “entitlement?” I will guess most of know we paid into it for a lifetime and we are just receiving what we EARNED. I do live on a fixed income and am hopeful the Dems will do some adjusting to protect our social programs and restructure that last obscene tax fiasco to provide some relief to middle-income earners and retirees. All we can do is hope for the best now – may your cynicism prove to be unfounded.

Mac Native 66

I am wondering what informs your opinion about the transportation corridor?


Any chance we could maybe get a new photo up on the front page of the News Register Web site? I'm sure Kulla and his voters love this victory dance in the end zone photo but for those of us who voted for Stan, it's getting a little old.


Stan Primozich has been a fixture of McMinnville and Yamhill County civic affairs for decades, and his dedication and commitment to service are beyond doubt, even though I didn’t always agree with his priorities. Personally, I’d much rather seen Starrett get the boot.

But Kulla made a convincing case for his candidacy, and at the local level, actual issues thankfully supersede national ideologies. He is energetic, his ideas make sense, the pre-election debate was open and vigorous, and talking about “the lefty’s (sic) sneaking in one of their own” is just another example of the disturbed relationship right-wingers have with democracy in the age of Trump.


It is good to see the younger generation begin to learn the ways of government. Kulla has a energetic and optimistic agenda. When he confronts the realities of making it happen, we'll find out and he'll find out, if he has the staying power of Primozich. I hope he does. I wish him success.


Bill B - "yes treefarmer; on a national level, get ready to pay more taxes and get less social security. Maybe you aren't on a fixed income yet but some day you will."

From Business Insider
During an interview with Bloomberg on Tuesday, McConnell said that to get the federal budget deficit under control — the deficit grew to $779 billion in fiscal year 2018, the largest since 2012 — Congress needs to reform entitlements such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

Republicans have been wanting to cut social programs for years...thank goodness we have a democratic majority in the House to protect those programs. Republicans blew up the deficit and now they claim they must cut...that's just a lie.


Maybe now we can do something worth while for the people of Yamhill County and not doing stupid issues outside of Yamhill County under a Starrett agenda.


Lee - the only thing I would add to your optimistic comment is that the results of this election might also curb the promotion of Starrett's husband's agenda too.

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