Four candidates, one office: county clerk
With a month left until the March 7 filing deadline, four candidates have already filed for the office of Jefferson County clerk — Madras residents Brian Crow, Charity Dubisar, Yoonsun Reynolds and Kate Zemke.
Longtime County Clerk Kathy Marston, who has served in that position for 19 years, has announced that she will not seek re-election.
The office of clerk, as well as two seats on the Jefferson County Commission, and the office of Jefferson County sheriff, will be on the ballot for the May 15 primary election.
The clerk candidates include two county employees, Zemke, currently the chief deputy clerk, and Crow, the fairgrounds event coordinator and county webmaster, and two business owners, Dubisar, who owns Snap Shots 1HR Photo, and Reynolds, whose husband, Cliff Reynolds, owns Quality Inn, where she works.
Crow, 48, was hired by the county in July 2016, to manage the fairgrounds, and added managing the county's social media and website to his resume in May 2017.
If elected, Crow said that he would use his technological skills to make the office even more efficient. "I am a very process-oriented person and throughout my business career, I have looked for and created operational efficiencies," he said.
"My entire professional career has revolved around the principle of treating my customers the way I want to be treated," said Crow. "I work hard to build relationships and provide accurate and timely service."
"I have managed budgets large and small, built amazing teams and completed incredibly complex projects. Since coming to Jefferson County, I have learned a lot about how government works and will use that knowledge to serve our community," he said.
"As the owner of several businesses, I understand how important time is and I will work to make the processes painless and accurate," said Crow.
He also pledged to stay involved at the fairgrounds. "I really love the fair and fairgrounds and, if elected to clerk, will commit to continuing to serve the fair by joining the fair board, if the commission sees fit."
Born in Portland, Crow grew up in Eugene, where he graduated from Churchill High School, and attended Northwest Christian University, taking general studies for two years, from 1990-92.
For 10 years, from 1997-2007, he owned a web development company in Eugene, Internet Marketing Service. During that time, he also owned Abel Computing, and built and serviced computers.
Crow sold his interest in the company to his business partner, and in 2006, got into the entertainment business, going to work as personnel administrator for Creation Festivals, coordinating volunteers for large festivals. After more than five years with Creation Festivals, he became the executive producer of Canada's premier country music festival, Boots and Hearts, working for Republic Live, where he remained until September 2014. From 2015-2016, before moving to Madras, he was the production manager for LMG Concerts, in Portland.
Throughout his years in the entertainment business and up to the present, he has also been employed as a contract video producer for Compassion International, traveling to 23 countries to write, film and produce videos for the Christian children's aid organization.
Crow and his wife, Tammy, have two adult children, Haley, 24, of Lancaster, California, and Wesley, 21, of Clarksville, Tennessee.
He is a member of the Jefferson County Rotary, and a past president of the American Marketing Association in Eugene.
Born and raised in Madras, Dubisar, 43, is known around the area for her photography business, Snap Shots, where she has worked since 2002.
A Madras High School graduate, Dubisar worked in numerous fields, before settling into the family business, which she operates. Now, she's ready for a new challenge.
"Like everything I do, I already have taken the initiative to get familiar with the responsibilities of the position," said Dubisar. "Kathy, our current county clerk, has been very generous with her time talking to me about what she does. I was able to join them for the special elections held in January to observe how ballots are taken in, verified and counted."
"Additionally, I have spent time with staff on procedures and daily tasks of recording deeds. Over these next months I will continue to sit in, becoming familiar with all I can along with reading up on ORS rules and statutes that pertain to the position," she said.
Over the years, Dubisar has done office work for Central Oregon Insurance, spent a couple years working as a teller at Columbia River Bank, a few years as a bookkeeper and purchaser for an interior design firm that focused on design for hotels and resorts, and then another couple of years working for an auto parts store, where she did bookkeeping, ran parts and worked at the counter.
In the early 2000s, she spent a couple years studying accounting and business at Central Oregon Community College and Chemeketa Community College.
In early 2016, Dubisar began studying to become a real estate agent. A few months later, she took the exam, and became a broker for Ali Alire at Signet Realty. Alire owns and is remodeling the former house at 546 SW Fourth St., which is now home to both Snap Shots and Signet Realty.
"I am a versatile, self-motivated, committed individual that, whatever challenge may arise, I will search out the resources and knowledge to succeed and serve the community to my best ability," Dubisar said.
"With this position, there are rules, regulations and procedures, so I am not focusing on changes that could be made within the office, as you would expect from other candidates running for an elected position," she said.
"As an outsider, I do not believe you can know the full scope of the workings until you've worked within for a period of time," Dubisar said. "My focus is to soak up what knowledge I can now and once voted in, be ready to jump in to learn the rest."
Dubisar and her significant other, Cesar Saldana, have two sons, Kobe Serrano, 16, and Junior Saldana, 10. For the past three years, she has served as the treasurer for Madras Buffalo Boosters, which helps raise funds for Madras High School clubs, activities and sports.
Although she has spent most of her life in the U.S., Reynolds, 35, was born in Korea and spent years working and earning a graduate degree in Seoul.
"In whatever I do, I strive to serve and help others," said Reynolds, who grew up in Hoquiam, Washington, a town about the size of Madras, located west of Olympia. "I go above and beyond the expected duties."
Reynolds graduated from Hoquiam High School in 2001, and then earned a bachelor's degree from Western Washington University in Bellingham, in 2007.
"When I majored in sociology at Western Washington University, my area of focus was population studies. I care about everything about population and any activities and transactions that occur among them," said Reynolds, who is intrigued by vital records and the election process. Even as a young child, she said, she always sat in front of the TV, whenever there was an election coverage.
After earning her degree, she started a graduate program at the private, internationally known Chung-Ang University, in Seoul, where she earned a master's degree in advanced interpretation and translation between English and Korean in 2013.
From 2012-16, Reynolds worked for ICCN, an advisory organization for UNESCO — the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization — as a translator and interpreter. Her duties included translating newsletters and documents, serving as an interpreter at the General Assembly, and interpreting for UNESCO personnel.
In 2013, she also worked at Seoul St. Mary's Hospital, in the Office of External Affairs, but returned to the U.S. to be closer to family. In 2014, she worked as executive assistant to the CEO of Luidia Inc., in San Jose, California, a technology company that produces portable interactive whiteboards for classrooms and conference rooms.
"I am accurate, transparent and responsible. From my past experience, I know I work well alone and with others," said Reynolds, who has also worked as a private tutor, library assistant, small restaurant cashier, and financial officer. "I learn new things very quickly."
"I sincerely believe that small town and its well-being matters to a larger community, region and the state," said Reynolds. "Collecting, recording and maintaining information is key to growth and prosperity."
"I do believe that my experiences shaped me to serve others, be accurate with any information I deal with," she continued. "My experiences working with organizations small and large and working with people from all walks of life will definitely help me deal with any situation I may be in as a county clerk. I care about people."
Reynolds and her husband, Cliff, are the parents of a 22-month-old daughter, Lynden.
For the past 17 years, Kate Zemke has worked alongside the Jefferson County clerk, serving as chief deputy clerk.
"I have had the privilege of observing and learning from the current very talented clerk, Kathy Marston," said Zemke, noting that her proximity to the clerk gives her the best concept of the scope of the job.
"I know best what I am asking for in this office and believe that what I don't know I can learn and master," she said, adding that she is the county's recording specialist, and is adept at issuing both marriage licenses and dog licenses.
"I have worked many elections, including four presidential elections, processed ballots and answered general voting queries," said Zemke. "I am the go-to person when it comes to searching historical documents, as well contemporary records. I have the background and experience to serve as the next county clerk."
Zemke, 59, grew up in Cottage Grove, where she graduated from Cottage Grove High School. After high school, she attended Willamette University for one year, and then, from 1977-78, attended Genesis Discipleship Training Center in Santa Rosa, California, and from 1981-82, Portland Community College.
Before working in the clerk's office, Zemke, who has lived in Madras since 1996, was employed at Pioneer Energy Co. for three years, and at U.S. Bank for a year and a half.
Zemke is married to Ron Zemke, and has two daughters, Aubrey Staat, 35, and Austin Cooper, 34, of Madras.
An accomplished artist, Zemke is a participating member of the Madras Free Methodist Church, and also volunteers every Wednesday evening in the AWANA program at the Cornerstone Baptist Church.