Independence council and mayor candidates




INDEPENDENCE — Four candidates are vying for three open positions on the Independence City Council, Jack Waddell is challenging Mayor John McArdle in his run for re-election.

Five candidates returned the questionnaire sent out by the Itemizer-Observer. Councilor candidate Diana Lindskog did not respond to emails and phone calls. Meet your candidates:

Mayor

NAME: John McArdle

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MCARDLE

AGE: 61

CURRENT EMPLOYMENT: Linn-Benton Community College, 13 years

EDUCATION: University of Oregon, BS Community Service and Public Affairs (1979); BS Recreation and Park Management (1979)

PREVIOUS GOVERNMENT SERVICE: Mayor City of Independence 1999-Present, City of Independence Budget Committee 1998, Board member and Previous President Mid-Willamette Council of Government 1999-Present, Governors Regional Solutions Committee (Economic Development) 2014-present, Governors Homeland Security Council 2007-2010, League of Oregon Cities Board 2007-2011, President 2010, continued board seat as past-president: Oregon Mayors Association Board 2001-2005, President 2004; Ash Creek Water Control District; U.S. Census-Polk County Chair 2010.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED IN THE AREA YOU WILL REPRESENT: 26 years

Why are you running for office?

I love our city and spirit that is Independence. Independence is a shining star. I’m proud of all that we have accomplished together: Amphitheater, rejuvenated downtown, parks, sports fields, movie theater, new businesses, concerts in the park, a hotel under construction, and more. I want to help continue our success.

What are the critical issues facing the city? How would you address them if elected?

Planning for our future — to balance our small-town flavor with the growth that is happening in all Willamette Valley communities. The city should begin an extensive communitywide planning effort this coming year so that everyone has input on traffic, housing, and what we want our city to look like in years to come. I will lead the effort to gain broad community input across the city.

Independence station, the undone building in downtown, is a private project that must be completed. With new owners, the city has the opportunity to work aggressively to move this project forward. It’s important that this building move from the “great undone” to a completed, contributing part of our city.

Expand our working relationships with the school district. Together planning for the future, using technology, opportunities for entrepreneurship, Together, making sure that our schools provide the best possible education for our kids and grandchildren.

What experience or talent do you believe you would bring to the office?

Results matter. I’m proud of what our community has accomplished. Cities throughout Oregon look to how Independence makes things happen. Passion, energy, leadership, community involvement, partnerships with both private and government agencies, and a vision for the future all make a difference. I think my skills and experience in these areas have helped as together we’ve moved our city forward. I want to continue to be a positive factor for our city.

Anything else you wish to note about the position you are seeking?

I’m excited about our future. There is positive energy in so many places. Optimism is the watchword of Independence. Our best years are yet to come. I believe I can help continue Independence’s success.

CAMPAIGN PHONE NUMBER: 503-838-6686

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NAME: Jack Waddell

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Waddell

AGE: 55

CURRENT EMPLOYMENT: Husband, father, grandfather, for life

PREVIOUS GOVERNMENT EXPERIENCE: None

HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED IN THE AREA YOU WILL REPRESENT: 2 years

Why are you running for office?

I am running for mayor because I am passionate about the community of Independence and am determined to maximize the city’s potential in growth and prosperity. I believe with my extensive business experience, I would serve to generate opportunities to build upon the positive momentum in place.

What are the critical issues facing the city? How would you address them if elected?

Critical issues the city of Independence faces include the MiNet Fiber debacle, utility infrastructure, the overwhelming utility costs of sewage and water, limitations with existing city structures, the soaring expenses for community businesses, increase presence of homeless, and Ash Creek. Our Independence Police Department is functioning at a high caliber in protecting our community. They have my full support, and I will strive to advocate for their needs. With these critical issues, I plan to draw on the many incredible staff members in place to strategically implement solutions to these and future problems that may arise. The community of Independence is full of amazing people with a wealth of knowledge. I believe if you take the time to listen, there are always solutions. I may not have all the answers, but I am confident in finding who does.

What experience or talent do you believe you would bring to the office?

I entered the work force at age 7 on a paper route. I have mowed lawns, handed out fliers, worked in restaurant industry, fire restoration, UPS, field/farm work, coached and led 4-H. I have worked construction and owned an electrical/general contracting business. I have lived in some rough environments, and on top of the hill. I built my first business from nothing and owned my first home by the age of 21. I’ve had major health issues. My beautiful and supporting wife of 36 years and I have raised six beautiful kids. In short, I can relate to most people.

Anything else you wish to note about the position you are seeking?

I am signing up to be a public servant for the city of Independence. I welcome whoever follows me should I win. Ultimately, I hope to leave Independence in a better place with peace of mind that I did everything in my power to help and serve all.

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Councilor candidates

POSITION 1

NAME: Shannon Cockayne

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Cockayne

AGE: 56

CURRENT EMPLOYMENT: City of Independence, 2 ½ years

EDUCATION: B.A in Political Science, Hunter College, NY, NY 1989

PREVIOUS GOVERNMENT SERVICE: Current Position: City of Independence, 2016-present; Precinct Committee Person, 2015-present; SAIC/Titan/MPRI (Defense contractor in support of U.S. military operations) 2003-2010; Department of Defense, 1991-2003

HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED IN THE AREA YOU WILL REPRESENT: 4 1/2 years

Why are you running for office?

I want to play a more active role in city management because I care deeply for Independence and want to ensure its beauty and uniqueness are preserved, and that future development takes into consideration our history and culture. I can do this best as a member of the City Council.

What are the critical issues facing the city? How would you address them if elected?

Future development: Many like me settled here because they fell in love with the small-town feel. While I support currently planned development, I want to ensure that future development is carefully considered from all vantage points.

Parking: While I live within walking distance of Main Street, not everyone does. I want to ensure that there is enough parking in the downtown area so that everyone can enjoy our riverside activities.

Culture: Although the city has a Community Engagement Manager on staff, I see the need to more pro-actively engage with our Latino community because it represents a part of our rich cultural past, present, and future.

Civic Engagement: Few residents attend city council meetings. I’d like to find ways for the council to actively engage with the community outside of council meetings. Apart from posting minutes and broadcasting meetings, we need to find ways to reach and engage our residents.

What experience or talent do you believe you would bring to the office?

I’ve managed multifaceted Department of Defense programs. I understand how to break down complex issues to get to the heart of the matter and address them accordingly and thoroughly. After working in and championing diverse communities for a large part of my adult life, I bring also an understanding of the importance of inclusiveness — it makes us stronger. And finally, I bring to the office exceptional communication skills. It is my goal to use those skills to engage and inform Independence residents in a variety of manners regarding city governance. If you contact me, you will receive a reply.

Anything else you wish to note about the position you are seeking?

Independence is on an incredible trajectory. We test boundaries all the time. To make sure we grow smartly, we need our entire community on board and actively engaged. I want to work on ways to engage residents and to involve them regarding our collective future. Together we can do this.

CAMPAIGN PHONE NUMBER: 985-259-9615

CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: friendsofshannoncockayne.com

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POSITION 2

NAME: Marilyn Morton

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Morton

AGE: 65

CURRENT EMPLOYMENT (FOR HOW LONG): MINET, since March 2012

EDUCATION: Graduated from Pendleton High School 1970; many, many college courses but no organized degree.

PREVIOUS GOVERNMENT SERVICE: Independence city council since 2001 (approx. - filled unexpired term); Polk County dog commission (no meetings held yet during my tenure); formerly on the Independence library board; long ago, a library task force organized by Mayor Marion Rossi

HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED IN THE AREA YOU WILL REPRESENT: Almost 28 years

Why are you running for office?

I believe in being involved in my community. In addition to city council, I serve on several other boards and committees. Positive changes are best made from the inside and participating in the work that brings improvement and enhancement.

What are the critical issues facing the city? How would you address them if elected?

Communication is the key to so many issues today. My goal is to be instrumental in fostering communication among our citizens, between the two cities, all local cultures, and our elected officials. Today independence is a city envied by others. We must take care to not lose our community momentum, to take pride in what we have, and to keep working on our community goals.

What experience or talent do you believe you would bring to the office?

I bring to my position experience, a positive outlook, a desire to hear others, and the resolve to take actions necessary for legal and ethical governance. I am an active part of my community and involved in many community events, and I believe that enhances my skill set as a city councilor.

CAMPAIGN PHONE NUMBER: 503-580-8525

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POSITION 4

NAME: Tom Takacs

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Takacs

AGE: 60

CURRENT EMPLOYMENT: Home Depot RDC 3 ½ Years

EDUCATION: BS in Horticulture, Oregon State University, (1981)

PREVIOUS GOVERNMENT SERVICE: Independence City Council-2010-Present; Independence Planning Commission- 2005-2010; Traffic Safety Commission, 2010, Present; Historic Preservation Commission, 2010, Present; Independence Budget Committee- 2010-Present; MINet Budget Committee-2010-2014; Hop & Heritage Committee- 2015-2016

HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED IN THE AREA YOU WILL REPRESENT: 19 years

Why are you running for office?

I want to continue the incredible work our city has done to promote growth and increase opportunity for our citizens, as well as smooth the way for the new city manager we will be hiring in the near future.

What are the critical issues facing the city? How would you address them if elected?

We have experienced incredible growth in the past couple of years, and with all the good things that brings, we need to be looking at our infrastructure to make sure it continues to meet the standards of our citizens. I look forward to helping develop our updated transportation systems plan and helping implement our water and sewer master plans. This will take a creative approach to fund these projects over the next several years.

What experience or talent do you believe you would bring to the office?

I bring 13 years of working with our great city staff and many years of down-to-earth experiences to guide me. And like many of our citizens, I have been involved in many years of volunteering for our community.

Anything else you wish to note about the position you are seeking?

Independence is the envy of small cities in the state of Oregon. I am so grateful our citizens have trusted in me to represent them during this period of incredible development. I hope to be able to continue to help make Independence an example for all cities.



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