A city charter update for The Dalles and a Hood River County Public Safety Tax levy are highlights of the May 19 Primary Election, for which ballots were mailed April 29.
In Washington state, the primary comes Aug. 4; online candidate filing deadline is May 11-15. The ballot will include Klickitat County Dist. 1 Commission, now held by Rex Johnston, and Dist. 3, now held by Jim Sizemore, both four-year terms expire this year.
For the first time, Oregon voters will receive a postage-paid envelope to return their ballots. voters are reminded to sign their ballot envelope and only their own. Ballots must be in the hands of elections offices by 8 p.m. on May 19 for Oregon elections; postmarks do not count.
The COVID-19 outbreak has necessitated another balloting request from county officials: avoid licking your envelope. To seal it, use a wet cloth or sponge. Elections staff and volunteers will be issued Personal Protection Equipment to open and process ballots.
A long list of U.S. House District 2 candidates are on the ballot (incumbent Greg Walden will not seek re-election) and one Democrat challenger will go against Sen. Ron Wyden and four Republicans are on the ballot.
Wasco County clerk Lisa Gambee issued the following corrections to an April 29 article on the ballot: the charter amendment measure is for the City of The Dalles only. Also, the Wasco County Clerk, Sheriff and Treasurer positions will not be on the ballot until the General Election in November.
The Wasco County ballot drop sites are located at the new Maupin Civic Center, and Wasco Clerk’s Office public hours are 9 a.m. to noon and 1-4 p.m.
Ballots should arrive in homes by Wednesday for the May 19 Oregon Primary Election. If you are registered and do not receive your ballot by that date, call your elections office. May 12 is the recommended last day to return ballots by mail.
Voters in northeast Oregon will choose candidates to advance to the November Primary in elections for State House and State Senate.
House Dist. 52: Democrat Anna Williams, the incumbent, and Jeff Helfrich, Republican; both are Hood River residents.
House Dist. 57: Democrat Roland Ruhe of Irrigon versus the incumbent, Republican Greg Smith of Heppner.
House Dist. 59: Arlene Burns of Mosier and Tyler Gabriel of Culver, both Democrats, challenge incumbent Daniel Bonham, Republican from The Dalles.
Senate Dist. 29: Republican incumbent Bill Hansell faces challenges from Democrats Garison Alger and Mildred O’Callaghan; all are from Pendleton.
Senate Dist. 30: Lynn Findley, Republican of Vale and Carina Miller, Democrat of Warm Springs, running for seat vacated by Cliff Bentz, now a candidate for Here’s what else is on the ballot in Gorge counties in Oregon.
Assessor: Jill Amery
Clerk: Lisa Gambee
Commissioner, Position 2: Steve Kramer and Marcus Swift
District Attorney: Incumbent Eric Nisley, Matthew Ellis
Sheriff: Brad Lohrey
Justice of the Peace: Ron McDermid, Geremy Shull, and Deanna Christiansen
County Clerk: Kristi Brown
Lohrey and McDermid are incumbents.
Hood River County
Sheriff: Matt English
County Commission Chair: Mike Oates
County Commission Position 2: Paul Henke, Arthur Babitz
County Commission, Position 4: Les Perkins
District Attorney: Carrie Rasmussen and Sean Kallery
Oates, English, and Perkins are incumbents.
Hood River County ballot drop box is located next to the main entrance of the County Administration Building at Sixth and State streets in Hood River.
HR County candidates
The advocacy group Thrive.org recently issued a questionnaire to the four candidates in the two Hood River County contested races, and provided them to Columbia Gorge News as a courtesy. See the full answers at hoodrivernews.com. Here are excerpts from answers from Board candidates Arthur Babitz, a self-employed engineer, and Paul Henke, a lieutenant with the Hood River Fire Department, and District Attorney candidates Carrie Rasmussen, a deputy DA for Hood River County and Sean Kallery, a deputy DA for Marion County:
Arthur Babitz: “My experience leading the city out of a financial mess is the most relevant example. It took several years of hard work to reform established practices and make staffing changes necessary to plug the leaks and convert a serious deficit into solid reserves. People imagine ‘fixing’ a budget is a matter of finding some money and adjusting the spreadsheets, but in reality you have to change how people think about government and budgeting. That takes years of steady and competent leadership, with numerous opportunities to go astray.
“If the levy passes, the first job of the Board of Commissioners will be to make sure there is a plan in place to spend the money as promised to the voters — and to do that sustainability. Simply having more money doesn’t mean the budget is a healthy one.”
Paul Henke: Henke opted not to answer the questions in writing but to refer readers to several videos he has posted at paulhenke4countycommissioner.com/video-messages-from-paul.
On one video, Henke said, “On the county budget crisis, our only logical choice is to increase our tax base. Nobody wants their taxes to go up for their home. This is the base of all budgets, right? How do you increase revenue? To increase your tax base ...say we need $1 million a year and we have 1,000 paying $1,000 each, so if you’re looking for $1 million you increase the number of people putting in the money, so instead of 1,000 people putting in you have 10,000 people or so and everyone has to put in less.
“Whether the levy passes or fails the budget is going to look entirely different. The (proposed public safety) levy is looking for $1.8 million a year, the current budget committee and commission has the challenge of making two budgets. You have to make a budget that reflects the failure or the passing of the levy.”
Sean Kallery: “My first priority is on communication and collaboration. I have a team focus and I work well with officers, which is why over a dozen Hood River law enforcement officers endorse me. Further, communication is absolutely necessary for a focus on victims and their rights. Communication with victims ensures that I understand their wants and needs and can best communicate those to the court. My next priority is legal acumen. I believe that a lawyer is performing at the highest level only when they actively seek knowledge on every aspect of each case they handle, and I strive to be well informed on everything I do by staying current on the newest developments in Oregon Law and evidence based approaches to criminal justice. I would expect any lawyer in my office to do the same, because it ensures protection of victim’s and defendant’s rights as well as swift and accurate pursuit of justice.
Carrie Rasmussen: “I have established working relationships with local governmental agencies, legal partners and the business community. I will prioritize increased involvement of the District Attorney’s Office with other county departments, the Hood River County Commissioners, local non-profit partners and surrounding counties. These improved partnerships are needed in order to appropriately respond to our current budget crisis and to develop ways that we can work together with limited resources to achieve common goals.
“One urgent need is a better approach to how we address the needs of the mentally ill who sometimes commit crimes. Regional law enforcement needs a secure facility where they can bring offenders ...”