POLK COUNTY — After none of the three Polk County Commissioner No. 1 candidates received more than 50 percent of the vote in May, the race will decided on Nov. 3 between the top two in the race, incumbent Lyle Mordhorst, of West Salem, who was appointed to the seat in 2019 and his challenger Danny Jaffer, of Independence.

The candidates answered and returned a questionnaire from the I-O. Below you will find their responses.

Lyle Mordhorst, 63

Employment History:

• County Commissioner - 2019 - Present

• Les Schwab Tire Company – 1983 - 2019

Education: Grangeville High School, 1975

Previous government service:

• County Commissioner – 2019 - Present

• Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency – 2019 - Present

• Salem Keizer Area Transportation Study, Vice Chair – 2019 - Present

• Mid-Willamette Valley Area Commissioner on Transportation, Board Member – 2019 - Present

• West Salem Redevelopment Advisory, Board Member – 2006 - 2012 & 2015 - 2019

• Mid-Willamette Valley Homeless Alliance, Executive Board Member – 2019 - Present

• Grand Ronde Sanitary District Board of Trustees – 2019 - Present

• Local Public Safety Coordinating Council – 2019 - Present

• Polk County Budget Committee – 2019 – Present

• Polk County OSU Extension Board of Directors – 2019 - Present

• Association of Oregon Counties – 2019 - Present

• Willamette Workforce Partnership Jobs Council – 2019 – Present

• West Salem Business Association – 2007 - Present

• West Salem Business District Action Plan – 2012 - 2014

• West Salem Gateway Study – 2013 - 2014

• West Salem Edgewater Study – 2007 - 2008

Campaign Phone: (503) 930-0548

Campaign website/Facebook page: www.lyleforpolk .com

How long have you lived in Polk County? 22 Years

Why are you running for office?

I was appointed to the Board of Commissioners January 2019 and my goal was to bring West Salem and Polk County together. Now I want to unite our communities and cross promote our community events so people can experience each unique downtown and everything Polk County has to offer, bringing new customers to our local stores and eateries.

Bringing people together to create new ideas and solve local or regional challenges is what I have done and will continue to do. Honesty, strong work ethic, results and being approachable are all qualities I live by, and hold myself to.

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

Broadband: At this moment 50% of rural Polk County have no access or inadequate broadband, and with our youth receiving online instruction it is imperative we address this quickly. We have made the investment to correct this and it should be in place by January 2021 with a targeted improvement to over 90% broadband coverage throughout the county.

Infrastructure: I am working with ODOT addressing our challenging intersections making them safer and more efficient. Current projects being highways 51 & 22 followed by Clow Corner and Highway 99W, Perrydale Road and Highway 22, Bethel Road and Highway 99W and Stapleton Rd and Highway 99W, OR18 and Forthill Rd.

Economy: Getting our local businesses thriving not just surviving by collaborating together and building a network within Polk County and cross promote community events Capitalizing on our population and enticing them to buy local and experience what our communities have to offer.

What experience or talent would you bring to the office that would benefit the county?

Prior to my appointment to the Board of Commissioners I enjoyed a 35-year career with Les Schwab Tires with 32 years served in management. Budgeting and forecasting revenues was a daily routine. I had the opportunity to work with people from all walks of life, genders, religions, doctors, contractors, homeless, and elderly living on limited incomes, farmers and loggers, creating unique programs and efforts to meet their needs while staying within their budget.

I have been involved in our community since I moved to Polk County in 1998. Serving on several city planning efforts on developing areas, design, traffic challenges and representing business districts. It has allowed me to create relationships with ODOT and planning departments which I have utilized on a daily basis.

I don’t view challenges as road blocks but instead as opportunities for improvement, and I am honored to serve as your Commissioner.

Anything else you wish to add?

It has been an honor to represent Polk County on many various platforms, from transportation, public safety, rural broadband and the homelessness issues these last two years. I want to say thank you for your trust and encouragement. The election is November 3rd and I humbly ask for your vote.

Danny Jaffer, 59

Employment history: President, Luckiamute Domestic Water Cooperative (LDWC, serving rural SE Polk County), on the Board of Directors for nine years, president for the past eight years (this is a non-paid, elected position).

Occupational Background: Operations Manager, Vertex Aerospace; U.S. Navy, Officer and Aviator; Combat Rescue and Logistics Helicopter Pilot, and fixed wing transport pilot.

Education: University of Oregon School of Law, 1997; Oregon State University, Bachelor of Science, 1985; Graduate of U.S. Naval Aviation Officer’s Candidate School (Pensacola, FL.) 1986. U.S. Navy Flight School, Designated Naval Aviator, 1987. Chemeketa Community College, Vineyard Management (current student); Central High School, 1979.

Previous government service: Luckiamute Domestic Water Cooperative Board of Directors, 2011-Present; United States Naval Officer and Aviator, 1986-2010; Oregon State Legislature, Legislative Assistant 1994

Campaign phone: 503-838-1273

Campaign website/Facebook page: (Facebook) Danny Jaffer, Non-Partisan for Polk County Commissioner.

How long have you lived in Polk County? I have been a resident of Polk County all of my 59 years. With active duty military service sending me abroad, I have resided in Polk County for 39 years.

Why are you running for office?

I believe in service to community, to family, and to country. Public service, personal involvement, and giving back to the community is the way that I was raised. I want to provide something valuable to our county government: teamwork, leadership and a collaborate attitude. I have experience in leadership, collaboration, crisis management, and project accomplishment. I will provide an open door to those who are not currently being heard. I want to end the political nepotism that has settled into our county government, and restore a say in what is happening to our 40,000 voters.

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

In February, I identified the housing shortage and homelessness, along with the ability to provide increased outreach of county services and assistance to those who are homeless and in healthcare crisis, as a critical issue. Additionally, I noted roadways and traffic safety as a great concern. I still believe these are critical issues.

However, we are now in a deeper crisis with Covid-19. This pandemic is touching lives and businesses right now. It is a world-changing crisis. We need to work through it together. It is something that good government, with good leadership, must play a part in solving. We must create a plan, carry out the plan, and develop future plans in order to be prepared for what comes next. Healthcare, business resurrection, educational functions; all will be involved on the “other side”.

What experience or talent would you bring to the office that would benefit the county?

I bring leadership experience, integrity, teamwork and organizational skills honed in military crisis management. A genuine commitment to continued education in public service.

My past work with the US Navy, the private sector, with the Luckiamute Water District and in volunteer positions in the local community along with my education, puts me in good stead to continue to be a leader in public service at the county level. I will oversee and direct county government with a drive to get things done, serving all constituents.

Anything else you wish to add?

I am the only candidate who has volunteered to cut his own tax-payer supported salary. I pledge to not vote for another personal pay raise as long as I am on the Board. As a veteran who spent years serving in distant places, I choose to continue serving here.

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