BEND, OR -- Candidates for Deschutes County Commissioner, Position One appeared together Tuesday to discuss the big issues and their campaigns, with KBND News. Incumbent Republican Tony DeBone is running for re-election; he's served on the Board of County Commissioners since 2011. His challenger, Democrat Amy Lowes, is a political newcomer.
With pot measures on the Culver and Sisters ballot, this November, Marijuana is again a disputed issue among local candidates. DeBone says he's proud of the way he and his fellow Commissioners have re-evaluated county code, "I do support basically the package we’re finishing deliberating right now, so we did do that recently. We removed the MUA10-Multiple Use Agriculture 10 – zone from the opportunity and we changed some set-backs. So, there’s some changes and it is a little bit more restrictive." However, Lowes believes the county should wait to impose more restrictions, to see how legal operations work through the existing process. "A lot of the complaints that the Commissioners are currently hearing are actually complaints about illegal grow operations."
The success of a politician can often come down to "who you know." But, Lowes says it's time for new relationships to move the county forward, "The way that our government was set up to work was that one person doesn’t stay in one position too long. So, there tend be relationships that get built over time when people are actually serving each other’s interests rather than serving the interest of the people." DeBone believes his local, state and federal relationships benefit the county, "I was on the Park and Recreation District Board in La Pine and I had the relationships around Sisters, Redmond and Bend from that. That is exactly where I started, was those low-level community relationships county-wide."
With still nearly three weeks until the election, we already know the make-up of Deschutes County's Board of Commissioners will change, since long-time Commissioner Tammy Baney lost her Position Three primary in May. KBND News asked DeBone and Lowes whether they would get along with the full board, regardless of who wins. DeBone replied, "Absolutely; I’m currently a Commissioner. I’ve worked with a few now, but my style is ‘let’s get it done'." And, Lowes said, "I absolutely do as well. We’ve been asked multiple times if we think this should be a partisan role. I do not think that this should be a partisan role. I think we need to sit at the table, work collaboratively with each other and compromise in order to keep moving forward." To hear our full conversation with DeBone and Lowes, visit our Podcast Page.
Position Three candidates Republican Patti Adair and Democrat James Cook will join KBND News together, next Monday. And, DeBone, Lowes, Adair and Cook will participate in a candidate forum hosted by the Sunriver Chamber of Commerce, Thursday morning. Click HERE for event details.