Madras appoints third woman to council
For the first time in nearly a quarter-century, half the members of the Madras City Council are female, since the appointment of Jennifer Holcomb Jan. 9.
Holcomb, 42, a licensed real estate broker, joins Mayor Royce Embanks and councilors Richard Ladeby, Bartt Brick, Gary Walker, Denise Piza, and appointee Rose Canga.
"I don't have an agenda for the City Council, but I would like to see our city grow to somewhere that our educated children can return and have a career here," she said.
Many in the community know Holcomb as the recent face of Jefferson County Little League. For the past seven years, she has served on the Little League Board of Directors, with the past three as president.
In the year and a half or so leading up to the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse, Holcomb led Little League's efforts to lease Juniper Hills Park from the county to rent the fields out to visitors as a Little League fundraiser.
The park rented out 450 park and view spots, 250 tent spots and 60 RV spots. Little League successfully hosted more than 3,000 people from around the world at the park, earning tens of thousands of dollars for the organization.
"In that timeframe, I attended all the planning meetings and got to know a lot of people," said Holcomb. "It spiked my interest in city government."
During her tenure on the Little League board, the group built four dugouts on two softball fields, resurfaced two of those fields, and upgraded equipment, but there is much more to be done.
"We've been working on a grant to get a restroom/concession area with picnic tables at the Little League fields," she said.
Holcomb, whose maiden name was Filbert, grew up in Madras and graduated from Madras High School in 1993. For 23 years, she was employed by Bright Wood Corp., most recently as the inventory manager.
After high school, while still working, Holcomb studied administrative business, with a minor in health, online, through Eastern Oregon University.
Holcomb and her husband, Robert, have two daughters, Alex, 24, who lives in the Tri-Cities area of Washington, and Aspen, 15, a sophomore at MHS, and a son, Ayden, 12, a seventh-grader at Jefferson County Middle School; and a 5-year-old granddaughter, Aylah.
The Holcombs' children all participated in Little League, but she has remained involved, "because I believe in the concepts of Little League and teaching kids that it's not just about sports; it's about being good citizens," she said.
For the past three years, Holcomb has worked for the D&D Realty Group as a licensed real estate broker. She is also a member of Jefferson County Rotary, and is co-chairing the Rotary's Feb. 10 Cherry Tree event with Alexa Gassner, and plays bunco with a group that volunteers at the Methodist Church's community kitchen.
"Health and fitness is extremely important to me," said Holcomb, who participated in the MAC Dash for the first time this year, and does Crossfit training at Three Peaks Crossfit. Other activities and interests include hunting, fishing, hiking, "and attending all of my children's sports activities."
The last time that at least half the members of the Madras City Council were women was from 1991-1994, according to City Recorder Karen Coleman.
In 1991 and 1992, the council included Krista McVey, Rosie Leal and Dorothy Harrington. The following year, 1993, the council had a record four female members: McVey, Leal, Marjean Whitehouse and Jolynn Currier. And, in 1994, the streak continued with Currier, Leal and Whitehouse.
Holcomb is filling the seat left vacant by the resignation of Councilor Tom Brown. The term expires on Dec. 31, 2020.