After no candidate achieved a majority of the vote in the May primary, two candidates are on the ballot Nov. 3 for Yamhill County treasurer: Kris Bledsoe and Paulette Alexandria. Both women have finance backgrounds with diverging views on how the county treasurer position should be conducted.
Bledsoe received a plurality of 13,464 votes in the primary, good enough for 48.35%. Alexandria received 9.513 votes, coming in second at 34.16% and knocking Katie St. Ores (17.49%) out of the race in the process. With just two remaining in the race, the campaign has intensified since May, with signs posted throughout the county and discussion about the candidates bubbling up on Facebook and elsewhere.
Bledsoe is a retired financial manager who has worked as an investment advisor, private banker, bank portfolio manager and bank auditor, among other positions. She holds a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Washington along with a degree in accounting from Golden Gate University and a master's degree in pastoral studies from Seattle University.
A current member of the Yamhill County Investment Advisory Committee, Bledsoe's campaign focuses on her "education, experience and enthusiasm" as traits she believes will best serve county residents.
"The Yamhill County Treasurer manages county investment funds to ensure preservation of capital, mitigate investment risk and seek maximum return," she wrote in her candidate profile in the voter's pamphlet. "I currently serve on the Yamhill County Investment Committee. If elected, I will use my expertise and knowledge of our existing portfolio to meet these objectives. Investing for income, not growth, is the goal in managing the county portfolio. Income investing is my strength. I trained with a bond-focused investment firm and worked many years in banking managing a $500 million portfolio."
Bledsoe has the endorsement of current county treasurer Michael Green along with Yamhill County commissioners Casey Kulla and Richard Olson.
"By far, Kris Bledsoe is better suited and trained to fill the role as Yamhill's County treasurer," Green wrote in the voter's pamphlet. "She understands the policies and the philosophy of public funds investing and will ensure that the policies currently in place will continue to benefit the County."
Alexandria is an investment portfolio and farm manager who lives in Carlton. She has been an investment advisor, worked at The Oregonian newspaper and has served as a business instructor at various colleges and universities. She has bachelor's and master's degrees in business administration from Southern Oregon University and, according to her voter's pamphlet information, she is a certified public funds investment manager by the Public Treasurers Association of the U.S. and Canada.
She has previously served on the Yamhill County Investment Advisory Committee as well as the Marion County Planning Council, Marion County Soil and Water Conservation District and Oregon Association of County Treasurers and Finance Officers. Alexandria has the endorsement of Yamhill First PAC.
"Now more than ever, the treasurer is vitally important to the financial well-being of our county; this is no place for second-guessing," Alexandria wrote in the voter's pamphlet. "Our treasurer must have demonstrated fixed income investment management experience. Budget constraints make our investments critical to our ability to deliver services to county residents.
"The treasurer makes sure our assets are working as hard as possible to fund those programs now and in the future. I look forward to putting my 30 plus years of financial, investment and business management experience to work in Yamhill County as treasurer. As an investment professional, I will use my experience to invest county funds wisely and safely in accordance with the tenets of the county investment policy statement. In addition, I'll utilize my experience as a business educator to share the importance of financial literacy and a deeper understanding of the treasurer's role in the county."
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