UNION COUNTY — The Union County Board of Commissioners is set to begin 2021 with a cast of familiar faces, including Donna Beverage, who Tuesday night won the race for reelection for Position 3, defeating challenger Michael Barry.
Beverage, a Union cattle rancher, is completing her first term as commissioner. She received 6,130 votes, or 64.1%, of the total to Barry’s 3,412, or 35.7%.
“I am humbled and honored that I will be able to serve Union County for another four years,” said Beverage, the only Union County commissioner who was up for reelection this year.
The victor said she intends to keep doing what she has been doing since taking office in early 2017.
“I will continue to be financially responsible and help businesses in Union County,” she said.
Beverage said she wants the county to continue focusing on developing Baum Industrial Park, which the county operates adjacent to Highway 82 just north of Island City. Beverage counts the county board’s actions to develop the park as one of her proudest accomplishments during her 3-1/2 years on the board.
Barry, chief of the Imbler Rural Fire Department and a liaison officer for the Oregon Department of Transportation, congratulated Beverage on the win.
“I wish her all of the luck in the world,” said Barry, who described Beverage as a kind person.
Barry said the COVID-19 pandemic made it hard for his campaign to gain momentum. He was not able to speak before groups or go door to door stumping for votes because of social distancing rules and concerns.
“It limited my ability to connect with people on a personal level,” Barry said, and as the challenger he needed to make connections.
“She was running on her record (as a commissioner) and I was running on my resume,” Barry said.
Barry, like Beverage, focused his campaign on the importance of boosting Union County’s economy. He said he is not sure if he will run for public office again but will remain committed to public service. Barry, an emergency medical technician, has been a volunteer firefighter in Union County since 1990 and has headed the Imbler department since 2012.
Beverage said during her second term she will continue focusing on programs to keep the county connected to local governments, such as monthly meeting of mayors she attends and helps organize. The county commissioner also said she will strive to continue to keep an open mind and listen to all sides of issues before making decisions.
Beverage also has a list of projects she wants to work on, including getting a truck-to-railroad spur at the industrial park so truck drivers could load items onto rail cars.
Beverage said this would make it easier for local companies to ship items throughout the United States.