Union County has voted and Paul Anderes and Matt Scarfo will be sitting as the new Union County Commissioners in January.
Paul Anderes has lived in La Grande for 22 years. He has been a teacher for more than 30 years and will now step into the role of Union County Commissioner.
“I’m happy,” Anderes said early Wednesday morning. “I’m a little overwhelmed from the outpouring of support that I have received.”
Anderes took the lead early in the election results Tuesday night and ended with 62 percent of the votes. He challenged Colleen MacLeod, who previously served as commissioner for 12 years.
MacLeod said she believes Anderes will be a great commissioner.
“You win some and you lose some,” she said. “(Anderes and I) talked early in the race. We shook hands and agreed to a clean race, and it was. The people have spoken.”
Anderes said he’ll now be studying and researching to learn as much as he can about the commissioner seat so he can hit the ground running on day one.
Anderes’ background includes hands-on knowledge of agriculture and natural resources, he said in a previous interview.
“I have thinned overcrowded forests and fought fire from Phillips Creek to Catherine Creek, McIntire Road, Starkey, Chicken Hill,” he said. “I have worked along the side of agricultural producers working cattle, swathing, baling, irrigating as well as producing high-quality lamb, beef and goat meat for local and regional consumption. I am proud to be a part of our local Natural Resources and Production Agriculture Industries and have ideas of how we can add value to county resources to boost our local economy in the manufacturing and service industries. I have over 30 years of practical experience dealing with public budgets, problem-solving and implementing a variety of programs.”
Anderes wants to thank his voters for the support.
“Thank you for believing in me,” he said. “I will do everything I can to make sure that I properly earn (your) trust.”
In the second commissioner race, local business owner Matt Scarfo finished with a large lead, of 73 percent, ahead of his opponent, John Lackey.
Scarfo has lived in La Grande since 1995, he said. He has served on boards including for the Union County Chamber of Commerce and La Grande Mainstreet Downtown, and he will be taking on more challenging responsibilities in January 2019.
“I’m excited,” Scarfo said. “That was a long time (campaigning). It was definitely a learning experience.”
Scarfo told The Observer in a previous interview that he would like to add every town in the county to the commissioners’ liaison designation, which gives them the responsibility of keeping track of what’s happening there, to have a more inclusive approach for the county.
To that, Scarfo said he will attend the Union County budget meetings beginning tonight and will begin shadowing the commissioners until he steps into the position.
He wanted to thank the voters for their support and for believing in him.
Lackey said he’s fine with the results.
“You do what you can do within your means and within your abilities,” Lackey said. “If the community prefers the approach that Matt wants to take then we need to support him. I’m terribly disappointed because I had some strong feelings to contribute. But we need to be supportive of those who are in the (commissioner) roles.”
Lackey said he’d like to thank everyone for the support he’s received over the last few months.
“I’m thankful for not only the financial support, but the emotional support as well,” he said. “Everything is very appreciated.”
Scarfo also wanted to thank Lackey.
“(Lackey) was a great opponent and it was great to run against him for the last five months,” Scarfo said.
Anderes and Scarfo are replacing Union County Commissioners Steve McClure, who has served on the board of commissioners for 28 years, and Jack Howard, who is finishing his first term. McClure and Howard did not seek re-election.
Beginning in January, Commissioner Donna Beverage will be the only one on the board with experience in the position. She is in the middle of her first term.