The choice for Jackson County commissioner, Position 1 comes down to experience and preparation.
We’re not suggesting that incumbents always get the nod over first-time challengers, but time on the job, especially a job with challenges as complex as county government, counts for a lot.
Commissioner Rick Dyer, a Republican, is completing his first term. He has served half of that time as chairman of the three-member Board of Commissioners, unusual for a first-termer, taking over the post after former Commissioner Doug Breidenthal was removed as chairman when he became the subject of an ethics investigation.
A businessman before he became commissioner, Dyer also holds a law degree. He was elected to two terms on the Rogue Valley Transportation District board before seeking the county position. He has approached the job as a pragmatist, not an ideologue.
Democrat Amy Thuren is executive director of The Valley School, a Medford charter school, and a former director of the local chapter of the American Red Cross and of Consumer Credit Counseling, as well as operating her own consulting business. She has served on the Community Action Committee of Jackson Care Connect and as a member of the Medford Arts Commission, and led the Hawthorne Park playground project sponsored by The Chamber of Medford/Jackson County.
Thuren is enthusiastic and capable, but cannot match Dyer’s experience in elected office. In their joint interview with the Editorial Board, she was surprised to learn that there is a county initiative measure on the ballot seeking to block restrictions on firearms.
Both Thuren and Dyer speak of the need for more jail space and support efforts to create jobs and take steps to ease the housing crunch in Southern Oregon.
The third candidate in the race, Libertarian Frank Brannen, has run a less visible campaign, and has no governmental experience to offer beyond one previous unsuccessful campaign for state representative and previous service on the Libertarian Party’s board of directors.
Dyer and Thuren are both attractive candidates, but his track record in office gives Dyer the edge. We recommend Rick Dyer for Jackson County commissioner, Position 1.