BEND, OR -- With a little more than two months before the election, candidate for Deschutes County Commissioner Phil Henderson is trying to set himself apart from incumbent Alan Unger. Henderson, who received both the Republican and Independent party nominations in the primary, says he does not agree with the Board of Commissioners’ recent decision to lift the ban on marijuana businesses in rural areas. "The measure to opt out what it was about, whether or not we should grow and manufacture in rural Deschutes County. And, I thought, given the fact that the Legislature had allowed the county to revote, that we should have had that vote."
The Bend home builder tells KBND News that as the Chairman, Unger could have pushed for the vote. Henderson feels the decision to lift the ban was rushed. "Although it’s a farm product as defined by the Legislature, it’s essentially a drug. It’s not something we eat, it’s not something we wear, and it’s not something we feed to our livestock. So, I think the legislature gave this option to the county, we should have had the vote and then if the vote was that the majority of the citizens wanted to do it, we would abide by that." Henderson adds, "We have literally billions of dollars in invested capital in resources throughout Deschutes County in housing, ranches, farms. And, this effects the values of those properties and it has to be thought about it carefully." Henderson thinks Unger didn’t balance the needs of farmers while selecting members of the marijuana advisory committee.
Henderson says if elected, he would be the best County Commissioner in the history of Deschutes County because of his background in business and law, and as a lifelong Oregonian. He lists housing, jobs, roads and fiscal responsibility among his top priorities.