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Home arrow Opinion arrow Our View arrow COUNTY GOVERNMENT IN GOOD HANDS



One of the most important decisions Union County voters will make in the Nov. 5 election is who will help lead our county government for the next four years. The issue in deciding whether to vote for incumbent John Howard or challenger John Lamoreau for county commissioner comes down to whether we are satisfied with the direction of county government. Change for change's sake won't cut it.

UNION COUNTY is in an unusual position. While both the national and state economies are struggling, Union County's is holding its own. For several months now the county has had one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state — a rate so low that some of our employers are struggling to find workers. At the same time, we've got some industrial prospects seriously looking at our area. We're poised for growth and for breaking out of the stagnation that has kept our county from growing much over the past few decades.

We've got government entities working together instead of working against each other. We've got representation on important state and federal natural resource panels. At the same time, the county has managed — even in the face of declining resources — to provide a consistent level of local services in the form of public safety, roads, landfill, health care. And yes, we even have a public golf course and a railroad because county officials stepped up to the plate and recognized that Union's Buffalo Peak and the rail corridor to Wallowa County were too important to lose. And the fact is, we would have lost both had it not been for the county's ability — and connections — to work out solutions.

UNION COUNTY HAS a lot going for it, and Commissioner John Howard is a big part of the reason why. Howard has shown an ability to bring people together, to find a middle ground and come up with creative solutions to issues. And he's shown the willingness, time and time again, to go to bat for Union County at both the state and national levels. He is worthy of re-election.

Howard's opponent, John Lamoreau, is a fine man. He, too, cares about Union County and its residents. But Lamoreau has failed to make the case that Howard has in some way failed the public as a county commissioner.

LAMOREAU IS DESTINED for public service. He's been an active volunteer in the community for years. Politics — especially on issues that have more of a statewide flavor — burns within him. He shouldn't give up on his political endeavors. He may want to consider making a bid for the Oregon Legislature in the future.

But when it comes to county government, right now is not the time for a change. John Howard has demonstrated a willingness and ability to address the issues that need to be addressed no matter how divergent the views. That kind of effort is working for Union County. Voters should re-elect John Howard.


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