State Rep. Pam Marsh, D-Ashland, appeared easily headed to a second term on election day, leading in early returns 20,269 (69 percent) to 9,178 in a heavily Democratic district that stretches from the southern edge of Medford south to the state border.
Republican nominee Sandra Abercrombie appeared to campaign little, not even writing an entry for the Voters’ Pamphlet.
“I have never met her,” said Marsh, in an election day interview. “She wasn’t anywhere I was invited. I thought I would meet her.”
Looking ahead to the January legislative session, Marsh said she wants to keep her seats on the Revenue and Economic Development committees, as both are vital to the region — and the struggle with summertime smoke has become a major focus in economic development.
Marsh, a former Ashland city councilor, said she was planning on spending election eve with Democrats at Grape Street Bar & Grill in Medford, supporting Democratic candidates for Jackson County Commissioner and state Senate who “have run stellar campaigns but face an uphill battle because of the countywide Republican registration edge.”
In the future, locals should mount an initiative to make county commissioner seats non-partisan, she said, because “It’s not a partisan kind of job, but the election does end up being partisan because people look for the R or D.”
Marsh was doing a little nail-biting about the super-majority ballot measure, noting, “I hope it doesn’t pass, as it would give undue weight to a super-minority and make it much more difficult to create good policy in Salem. When you compromise for the sake of policy, that’s good, but when forced to by a super-minority, it’s more like blackmail.”
Marsh’s economic development seat is vital, she notes, because lawmakers will be looking at “the kind of relief we can give communities hit by smoke and fire. We need to broaden the economic base of the community, look at our approach to the tourist industry, focus on a shoulder season and better forest management and handle health impacts. We have to make sure we have a safe environment for people. We have to take this on in a very broad way.”
John Darling is an Ashland freelance writer. Reach him at email@example.com.