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Habitat for Humanity executive director has vision and understands the role of mayor

In the three-way race for Newberg mayor between Rick Rogers, Nicholas Morace and Buddy Cook it's very clear who has the experience, temperament and vision to replace Bob Andrews as the leader of the elected portion of Newberg city government: Rick Rogers.

That was the conclusion of the Newberg Graphic community editorial board after sitting in on a candidates' forum and reviewing the trio's qualifications last week.

Rogers, the longtime executive director of Newberg Habitat for Humanity, has amassed an impressive list of accomplishments in his 59 years of living. Locally, he has sat on nearly 10 boards, ranging from the Citizens Rate Review Committee to the Affordable Housing Committee. He has a more extensive understanding of the workings of city government than his opponents, we believe, after years of coming before the City Council and other organizations on behalf of Habitat.

His background uniquely equips him to deal with the issues city government is facing, including budget shortfalls (he said Habitat recently underwent some cutbacks in its budget), PERS, affordable housing, a growing population and others.

We are encouraged that when faced with specific questions at the forum, Rogers had the hard data to back up his claims, an indication that not only had he done his homework but that he has been in the trenches dealing with community issues.

We also believe Rogers has a firm grasp of the role of the mayor and council in city government, primarily as advisors to city staff, although advisers with the ability to discharge some of the top department heads if necessary.

Morace and Cook are plain-speaking and amiable individuals who appear to have a genuine affection for the city and threw their hats into the ring simply because they want to help. We applaud them putting themselves out there, but believe they could benefit from serving a few years in some lesser posts, perhaps on the planning commission or even the council.

Morace is a self-described champion of the working class and said one of the reasons he ran for office was to give common folk a voice on the council. We don't believe the council ever stopped listening to the citizens of Newberg and we're saddened that a candidate for the town's highest office would buy into that misperception.

Cook appears to be a genuinely nice guy who filed for mayor despite being outmatched by his opponents. We applaud his effort to get involved and hope he will attempt to serve the city in another capacity.

Ultimately, Rick Rogers has done the work to prepare himself to be mayor of Newberg. He is knowledgeable, intelligent, well versed in city government and has done his homework.

The community editorial board of the Newberg Graphic believes he should be rewarded with your vote.


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