Rogers loses mayoral race to Rosacker
Rick Rogers has lost his position as Newberg mayor after challenger Bill Rosacker outdistanced him by a healthy margin in last week's general election.
Rosacker garnered 52.59% (4,233 votes) to Rogers' 47.41% (3,816 votes) according to results released Friday afternoon by the county clerk's office. Six-hundred voters didn't indicate a preference for either candidate, while there were 30 write-in candidates tallied.
While ballots can by law continue to trickle in for the next several weeks, Rosacker's lead would appear unsurpassable for Rogers.
"I have little experience in the election side of politics, so I had no expectations," Rosacker said in an email. "I am honored that the win appears to be decisive enough to be the clear choice."
Rogers said he didn't take anything for granted going into the Nov. 8 vote.
"The (Newberg) school board has shown no candidate should be complacent," he said in an email.
Rosacker opined that the electorate was unhappy with the actions of the council and were sending a message with their votes.
"Newberg citizens have always had a great deal of respect for our local police department and Newberg citizens put a priority on safety in our community. I think the friction the current City Council has had with the police department and the community over public safety was a major issue," he said, refraining from identifying what particular issues existed between the two entities. "In addition, I worked very hard to explain my platform positions on other important issues to as many citizens as possible. I asked everyone to vote for me, so I believe that the voters are fed up with high prices for water, business expenses and housing costs."
Rogers countered that a recent talk with a police administrator indicated otherwise: "Chief Kosmicki recently stated … that the workplace atmosphere at the city is the best it has been in 25 years."
Rogers added that despite the loss he wouldn't change the way he campaigned for a second term.
"I stayed out of the gutter, was respectful of the process and lived the Civility Pledge even when others pushed preposterous, almost humorous, lies," he said, refraining from speculating whether his efforts to create affordable housing in town cost him the election. "I would hope my advocacy for housing would not be a detriment in a community that boasts 30 churches … but who knows."
Rosacker said that, ultimately, the voters were ready for a change.
"I think that most people are tired of the division and polarization of all politics in Newberg," he said. "The citizens want their government to provide the necessary services in the most cost-efficient way possible."
Rosacker will take office in January; Rogers said he will vacate the position confident he made a positive difference.
"I feel we accomplished much (focused on housing, family wage jobs, financial stability and regional transportation) during very trying times …," he said. "We also appointed the first (we believe) Latina and first (we believe) Black city councilor. I feel I was true to my beliefs and will leave the city in a better place than when I arrived."
Rosacker said he welcomed the opportunity to point the town in a different direction than the previous administration.
"Being mayor of Newberg will be one of the greatest honors of my life. I want to see it grow and prosper," he said. "My philosophy is to balance the budget by evaluating the spending side first and not direct money to council member's pet projects. I have seen a lack of proper priorities in government, so I will advocate for spending public dollars on public projects."
Rogers was loath to speculate whether Rosacker's win, in conjunction with contested races for three spots on the council, could mark a change in direction in city government.
"This will largely depend on the results of the three council races," he said. "Right now, on council, I count … two conservative members, two left-leaning members and two moderates. If this makeup goes to one extreme or another, city operations will be challenged and the gains cited (in his list of accomplishments) will be lost. In short, I am most concerned about the 140-plus city employees and how this will affect their workplace and therefore our community."
Rogers is the executive director of the Newberg affiliate of Habitat for Humanity. Rosacker, a general contractor in the area, is co-chief petitioner of the Kids Not Camps initiative. He has served on the city's budget committee and as chairman of the Newberg Downtown Redevelopment Committee.
Rogers said it was unlikely he would run for public office again in the future.
"I'll have to ponder this one for a while, but probably not — I only did this to serve my community," he said.
Dundee mayor and council
Incumbent hizzoner David Russ ran unopposed and will continue as Dundee's mayor for at least two additional years.
Five individuals vied for three positions on the City Council: Incumbent Storr Nelson and challengers David Hinson, Scott Panida, Bruce Starr and Alex Chiper. Nelson, Starr and Hinson were the top three vote getters and, if the numbers hold true as ballots trickle in over the coming weeks, will take their spots on the council come January.
Nelson led the pack with 25.33% (583 votes), to Starr's 22.81% (525 votes) and Hinson's 21.76% (501 votes). Panida was a close fourth in tallying votes at 20.81% (479 votes).
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