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Why I am running for Clackamas County Commission Chair

County leadership must do a better job of working together to overcome the challenges facing our County. I have devoted my life to keeping our community safe, livable, and improving people’s lives, and am deeply honored by the trust Clackamas County voters placed in me over my 16 years as your Sheriff. Now more than ever Clackamas County needs leadership that is transparent, respectful, financially responsible, and willing to listen to you. As your Chair, I will work with you and my fellow commissioners to ensure our county government is as good as the people it serves.

Accountability and Transparency

It is time for leadership that is willing to rediscover what it means to be transparent, and once again be accountable to you. We cannot address the challenges facing our County unless we are upfront with our community members and include them as partners to make informed decisions. Whether it is the County’s Budget, paying for a new Courthouse, or locating emergency housing, meaningful public involvement and transparency is my commitment at every stage – especially when it comes to the use of your tax dollars.

Supporting Economic Growth

Clackamas County is an amazing place to live and build a business. To stay regionally competitive, we must grow our community’s workforce. It’s time to bring stakeholders together, so we can attract and retain high-growth industries that offer good-paying jobs and provide workers with upward mobility. In this competitive market, County leaders need to think outside of the box. I am committed to creating a local talent pipeline by bringing business owners together with our public schools, community college and technical school partners to grow our workforce.

Preserving and Enhancing Livability

Clackamas County is a special place worth protecting. We have all the best parts of Oregon: a vibrant mix of urban cities and rural towns, healthy manufacturing, small business and agricultural economies and a spectacular natural heritage. As our County grows, local taxes, tolling and transportation, access to quality jobs, affordable housing, and healthcare are key issues impacting livability and upward mobility for individuals and families. To address these issues, I will work with my fellow commissioners to ensure we have strong partnerships with our community members, city leaders, our local businesses, and our state and federal legislators. I believe everything we do in our County is interconnected and by working together we can make better-informed decisions.

Protecting Children and Families

Earlier in my career, my work as a child abuse detective affected me profoundly. I saw firsthand the impact that neglect, abuse and witnessing violence had on children. We all knew our county had to address helping children and families in new ways. But I believe leadership means more than describing a problem: you have to take real action to address it. That’s why I organized local leaders to create the county’s first child abuse assessment center by partnering with a researcher to conduct a needs assessment and bringing the concept to the Clackamas County Child Abuse Multi-Disciplinary Team. Thanks to countless individuals the Children's Center became a reality.

And as Sheriff, I brought a nationally recognized family justice center model to our county, called A Safe Place. It helps domestic violence survivors and their children, and elder abuse survivors find help in one place. As Chair, I will continue to find innovative ways to keep our children and families healthy and safe.

Focused Solutions to Addiction and Homelessness

Any experience of mental illness and substance abuse can impact housing stability. To offer individuals hope, they need access to treatment services. The reality is while we have a drug crisis, our county is in the shadow of Oregon being at the bottom of the nation for treatment services. Commissioners need to recognize the urgency of this issue and its impact on our community. I know firsthand that people who need treatment too often find themselves involved in the criminal justice system and when they do, they need a program that connects them to treatment. That is why as Sheriff, I partnered with our county mental health department to create an innovative 18-month residential recovery program for justice-involved individuals with substance abuse issues. This program works, very few people return to crime after graduation. To address our county’s shortage of treatment beds, it is time to work with our legislators, cities, and county health providers to create a county-focused plan that improves our treatment capacity and delivery systems.