The race will feature a current commissioner against a Prineville city councilor

Crook County and City of Prineville elected officials often work closely on a variety of local ordinances, projects, and plans.

Now, members from each governing body will square off in a race for Crook County Commissioner that will be settled in the May primary.

City councilor Jack Seley recently filed to run against incumbent Seth Crawford who is seeking a second term. Seley feels that he can bring a fresh perspective to the position given his 50 years of life experience and learning education.

“I think that I can make a difference,” he said. “I’m not saying that Seth isn’t doing his job. I’m just saying, from my perspective, I think that I can do it better.”

Seley earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Oregon State University in agriculture, then a Master’s Degree from University of Wisconsin in urban and regional planning.

“Part of my background is land-use management,” Seley said. “I was a policy analyst for quite a while. I’m used to analyzing situations, taking a set of regulations and coming up with a position. I also have an interest inorganizations and trying to figure out why they don’t run, where the critical points are.”

Crawford will lean on the experience he has gained during the past three years as commissioner as he seeks a second term, and believes his work will speak for itself.

“I just think if you look at my record, I think I have made good decisions for the people of Crook County,” he said.

If elected, Crawford hopes to continue his work over the past three years. He said he has worked on a lot of interesting projects that are good for the county, and feels there is a lot of work yet to be completed.

In addition, he wants to initiate some new ideas, including the creation of a network of multi-use trails in the community and a long-term budget plan.

“By doing that, it will give us a better chance to look at the money we are spending and spend it more wisely,” he said of the budget idea.

Seley would like to delve into economic development if elected and try to improve upon the jobs available to local residents.

“We need more diversity in the industries we attract through economic development,” he said. “So, I think possibly a closer working relationship with Russ Deboodt (Crook County Economic Development Manager) would help.”

He went on to say that the county needs more blue-collar jobs to offer alongside the new high tech occupations generated by the Facebook and Apple data centers.

“The two data centers we have are fine — we could stand another one — but we also need blue collar jobs,” Seley said. “There is a place for say hydroponics ... There are other possibilities we haven’t even thought of yet that we need to look for and perhaps encourage some of the smaller employers.”

Crawford placed a similar emphasis on diversifying the local job market, and hopes to bring in some new industries.

“I have been working with economic development to talk to some gun manufacturers to maybe get somebody from the East Coast that may want to relocate or expand their business,” he said. “I think that would fit really well in our community.”

The commissioner race will essentially be settled following the primary election on May 20. Whoever wins will earn the Republican nomination for the position and run unopposed in the November general election, barring a write-in candidate.

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