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Mark Wunsch, 33, will be the newest and the youngest on the Jefferson County Commission

PHOTO COURTESY MARK WUNSCH - When Mark Wunsch, 33, learned the Jefferson County Commission hasn't had a farmer or rancher on the panel in 24 years, he said, 'That's ridiculous. I'll do it.' Wunsch, both farmer and rancher, won the election with 60% of the vote and takes office in January.

Newly elected Mark Wunsch will take office as a Jefferson County Commissioner in January. At 33, Wunsch will be the youngest of the three commissioners by a couple of decades.

"I feel like a mature 33-year-old who has experienced a lot of things in life," said Wunsch. "Some days I feel like an old man because I roll out of bed and I'm sore and I'm tired."

Wunsch adds that his physical profession sometimes makes him sore and tired beyond his years.

Wunsch runs a cattle ranch on Grizzly Road, and on property throughout the county. He farms some for cattle feed.

He has taken on several leadership positions within the agriculture community.

He's past president and current board member of the Jefferson County Livestock Association. He's the 4-H and FFA auction committee chair, and the co-chair of the young cattlemen's committee of the Oregon Cattlemen's Association. He's a member of the Oregon Farm Bureau and the Jefferson County Farm Bureau.

His concern about agriculture got him into this race.

"Not having anyone from the ag industry on the commission for 24 years struck me hard," said Wunsch. "I got frustrated. That's ridiculous. If no one else is going to do that, I'll do it."

Wunsch unapologetically puts agriculture at the top of his priorities as a commissioner.

"Everyone needs a farmer three times a day, at least," he said. "You can have as much money or technology in a civilization as you want, but if you don't have food it doesn't matter."

However, Wunsch has been networking and building some groundwork to prepare for the broad range of responsibilities of his new job.

He's visited with directors of public works, the community development office, Jefferson County Fire & EMS, and with the sheriff. Wunsch hopes to spend time with the public health director and the director of probation.

His work with 4-H and FFA has given him exposure to the needs of the Jefferson County Fairgrounds.

Monday, Nov. 14 he left for Eugene for a three-day conference with the Association of Oregon Counties, where he plans to network with commissioners and administrators from other counties.

Wunsch says current commissioners, past commissioners, and department heads have contacted him since the election, creating a roster of mentors he can call upon as he begins his new duties.

"And citizens," added Wunsch. "Everyone brings some value to this county. They are my mentors as well."

Wunsch has attended commission meetings and other meetings and events throughout the county for the past several months, anticipating his new role.

"My business, my community, my friends depend on decisions made on the county level," said Wunsch. "Someone needs to advocate and fight for Jefferson County."

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