PRINEVILLE, OR -- The three candidates for Crook County Judge will take part in a candidate forum, Tuesday evening. County Commissioner Seth Crawford is running against fellow Commissioner Ken Fahlgren and former Chair of the Central Oregon Patriots Craig Brookhart. Crawford expects to discuss the same topics that voters have told him are top priorities, including jobs and the budget. "Long-term budget planning is something I’ve been talking to them about. When I talk with them and tell them, the fact that we don’t do long-term budget planning at the city, that’s something that rises to the top really quickly with them."
Crawford tells KBND News building a new Crook County Jail is also an important issue. "The Jail Committee came out with a proposal that I think is a great proposal; it’s been vetted through quite a few people in our community. To me, the next step is to find out what the people of Crook County are willing to pay for a jail, and then figure out what we can provide for that amount of money." Click HERE to listen to our full conversation with Seth Crawford.
Craig Brookhart agrees with the need for a jail, but says delays in moving forward with a plan are a symptom of what he calls an underlying lack of leadership. "I talked about it in 2012 and suggested we needed a long-term strategy; we needed a way to save the millions of dollars we were spending. Here we are four years later, and we just now got done with a Jail Committee to try and come up with a long-term solution."
He hopes his position as a government outsider will help elevate him at the polls. He says it's time for a change. "If you talk to people inside County Government, they’ll tell you a lot of them are frustrated. They feel like the management aspect of that is just not happening for them. They’ve told me that oftentimes one department doesn’t know what another department is doing." Brookhart stepped down as Chair of the Central Oregon Patriots to run against Crawford and Fahlgren. He says, "A lot of people don’t know what’s going on and they don’t have a voice in what’s going on. I am very big on transparent government and I like to keep people informed. Our communications could be so much better."
Ken Fahlgren was not available for an interview Monday, due to his participation in a Leage of Oregon Counties meeting in Salem.
If one candidate receives more than 50% of the vote on May 17, the position is decided. If no one gets more than 50%, the top two face each other again, in the November general election. Tuesday's forum is hosted by the Prineville/Crook County Chamber of Commerce. It begins at 6:30 p.m., at Carey Foster Hall at the Crook County Fairgrounds.