Candidate forums readied for April
Two separate candidate forums will showcase 10 candidates for four Jefferson County seats on the ballot in the May 15 primary election.
The Madras-Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce will host two events: an April 18 forum for Jefferson County commissioner candidates, and an April 25 forum for county clerk and county sheriff positions.
"It has been a long time since we have had such a large number of interested candidates pursuing Jefferson County elected positions," said Joe Krenowicz, executive director of the chamber.
Five candidates will vie for two seats on the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners — position 1, currently held by Mae Huston, of Culver, who has filed for another term, and will be challenged by Kim Schmith, of Madras; and position 2, currently held by Mike Ahern, who is retiring. Three people have filed for that seat: Courtney Snead, Mary Kendall and Kelly Simmelink, all of Madras.
The commission candidate forum will be held Wednesday, April 18, at the Madras Central Oregon Community College campus, with an informal opportunity to meet candidates at 5:30 p.m., and the forum beginning at 6 p.m.
For the position of county clerk, held by Kathy Marston for the past 19 years, five people have filed: Brian Crow, Charity Dubisar, Yoonsun Reynolds and Kate Zemke, all of Madras. Marston is retiring.
Jefferson County Sheriff Jim Adkins is unchallenged for his position.
The clerk and sheriff meet and greet will kick off at 5:30 p.m Wednesday, April 25, at the Madras COCC, with the actual forum starting at 6 p.m.
The forum facilitators will include Madras High School graduates Rick Allen and Mike Ahern, both of whom have served on the County Commission and Madras City Council, and Marla Rae Vibbert, who worked for Bend radio stations in the 1970s, before moving to Salem to become senior assistant to two attorneys general.
"The three moderators, led by Marla Rae, will enhance the forum's purpose of dialing deeper into the candidates' answers with follow-up questions," said Krenowicz.
"The knowledge and levity coming from the moderators' table will make the event more entertaining, while informative," he said.
Prior to the Madras forums, Crooked River Ranch will have an All Candidates Forum Wednesday, April 11, at 6 p.m., in the Juniper Room of the administrative building.