Pam Marsh

Ashland Councilor Pam Marsh to run for state representative

Ashland Councilor Pam Marsh announced Thursday her candidacy for the Oregon state representative seat now held by Peter Buckley, who recently announced his retirement.

“I wish Peter would just stay in there forever,” Marsh said. “He’s just a lovely person and a stellar legislator.”

Marsh said she vows to continue to support the legacy that Buckley has championed over the years, particularly on education and health care issues.

“A lot of the institutions that we rely on in Southern Oregon are really in flux,” she said.

According to the Oregon Secretary of State's website, Marsh is the only candidate to file for the 5th District seat.

Marsh, 61, has been on the council for 3 1/2 years and is one of the owners of the Green Springs Inn & Cabins.

She came to the valley in 1994 and lived in the Greensprings until 1994, when she moved to Ashland. Marsh manages Ashland Emergency Food Bank.

She said she’s a big supporter of efforts to maintain and expand early childhood education and improve the education system in general.

Higher education has undergone tremendous changes in recent years, including giving new life to Southern Oregon University, Marsh said. SOU and other Oregon universities have moved to local boards of trustees following the dismantling of the state Board of Higher Education last year.

Marsh said it’s important for the Legislature to continue to monitor the changes the university system is going through and to make changes, if necessary.

The state has been attempting to transform its health care system, but it is far from perfect and will require more improvements, Marsh said.

Expansions of drug courts and mental health courts are a positive sign, she said.

“We need to work on building those systems as opposed to more prisons,” Marsh said.

Marijuana has been a big issue for local communities to tackle after the voters approved legalization, Marsh said.

“Ashland’s done a good job figuring out how to make it work,” she said.

Climate change issues are important to Marsh, who said she thinks the Legislature could take more steps to address those concerns on a statewide level.

“We can’t sit around and wait for action,” she said.

Before moving to Ashland from Palo Alto, Calif., Marsh worked as an aide to California Rep. Byron Sher, author of the state’s Clean Air Act. She served as executive director of the Santa Clara County Cities Association and as a member of Palo Alto’s Planning Commission. Marsh chaired Ashland’s Planning Commission before taking a seat on the City Council.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or Follow him on Twitter @reporterdm.

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