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The Observer Paper 12/17/14

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Colleen MacLeod has been good for Union County. Her track record, her experience and her collaborative style make her worthy of the Republican nomination for county commissioner.

This election campaign has boiled down primarily to economic development. MacLeod has been involved in several projects to help boost the economy of Union County, most recently and most notably the construction of the Eastern Oregon University science center. Officials with the university have been quick to cite MacLeod as being among the leaders in helping to make the science center a reality.

MacLeod is a fiscal conservative, which fits the character of Union County. She has stated her belief that when people are working, then they — not the government itself — will help provide for community programs through volunteerism and donations. With her on the commission, the county has been involved in trying to improve the economy. And although the county has been criticized for its involvement in the Buffalo Peak Golf Course and the Wallowa Union Railroad, the fact remains that these projects are important to our area. The golf course appears to be turning the corner financially, and the railroad hasn't been given a chance to fail or succeed. It should be afforded that chance. Time will tell over the next few years if this was a good idea.

MacLeod has been known to downplay her role in developing these sorts of projects. We couldn't agree more strongly with her statement made to the editorial board that "it's amazing what can be accomplished when nobody takes the credit.''

Ken Johnson has campaigned hard on the issue of bringing more "family wage jobs" to Union County. Johnson obviously has a lot of ideas and energy, but he

doesn't have experience with government. He cites his work with area youth through his karate school and helping with 911 equipment as his community involvement.

we're concerned about his recent comment made at a candidates forum that he doesn't belong to any "little committees." Government's a complex animal. Those "little committees" help make government work by involving citizens in the process.

He has made a personal scapegoat of MacLeod on the family wage issue. The truth is, no individual county commissioner in Union County or anywhere else can single-handedly make an impact in the wage disparity between rural and urban areas. It is a systemic, historic and geographical issue that has no easy answers — no quick fix of the type that Johnson says is possible

MacLeod has grown tremendously as a commissioner. We believe her positive, collaborative, consensus-building approach is the right course for Union County.

Editorials in this column are the opinion of The Observer's editorial board. The board is comprised of Ron Horton, publisher; Ted Kramer, editor; Jeff Petersen, news editor; and Pierre LaBossierre, wire editor. Letters from readers, signed columns on this page and cartoons represent the opinions of the writer/artist and do not necessarily reflect the position of the editorial board.


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