Candidate Rick Dyer believes that his educational, professional and community experience gives him a unique set of skills to serve on the Jackson County Board of Commissioners.
Dyer, a Medford resident, is running in the May primary for commissioner Position No. 1 against fellow Republican Henry Marlowe, Jr.
Democrat Tonia Moro is mounting a write-in campaign for the seat and could face the winner of the Republican primary in November. Current Commissioner Don Skundrick is not seeking re-election.
Employment: Owner of Northwest Energy Solutions
Political experience: Rogue Valley Transportation District board member since 2009
With a law degree from Concord Law School and a bachelor's degree from Southern Oregon University, Dyer, 49, has educational experience in law, business administration and accounting.
"But my greatest education has come from running and owning local businesses," said Dyer, the owner of Northwest Energy Solutions, which specializes in installing energy-efficient windows and doors.
He said he learned about fiscal responsibility and restraint as a business owner. A county commissioner must consider how each decision impacts the county's fiscal health, Dyer said.
As a contractor who visits people's houses, Dyer said he sees firsthand that some homeowners are struggling and cannot afford a proposed library district on the May ballot.
"Our most vulnerable residents cannot afford it," he said.
Homeowners would be taxed up to 60 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value to pay for the district, or about $92.53 annually on a house assessed at $154,210, the average for Jackson County.
Dyer said the price tag is steep on properties assessed at $200,000 to $300,000 or more.
Dyer said he loves and uses libraries, and will get behind whatever decision voters make about the district.
If the district fails, Dyer said he cannot support using Jackson County rainy-days funds to keep the library system operating.
On April 17, the Jackson County Budget Committee approved funding one year of library operations. If the district fails, the committee must decide during next year's budgeting process whether to continue funding libraries for another year.
Dyer said libraries should not be funded at the expense of public safety and public health.
He is concerned about drug use, gangs and crime in the county.
After passing a medical marijuana moratorium earlier this month, county commissioners will have to revisit the issue of where, and under what conditions, to allow dispensaries.
Dyer said he has a friend undergoing chemotherapy who uses medical marijuana to fight nausea and increase her appetite.
But some people are misusing medical marijuana and a criminal element is thriving because the region is a good location for growing marijuana, he said.
"We need to get a grip on that element," Dyer said.
A coach of youth sports and father of a 10-year-old son, Dyer said adults need to reach out to kids before they get involved in drugs.
"We need to give them a purpose and a sense of direction and help them be part of a team that is not a gang," he said.
Quality addiction treatment programs are available, but drug dealers need to be driven from the area, Dyer said.
In May, voters will also decide whether to approve a ban on the growing of genetically modified organisms.
Dyer said the proposed ordinance is too vague and will invite lawsuits. Enforcement costs could be negligible or costly.
"There is a potential for costs that we can't afford right now. That comes at the cost of other programs," he said.
Dyer said he is a supporter of the county's public health programs because they help vulnerable senior citizens, children and families.
He said he is an advocate of responsible, sustainable forest management that would reduce wildfire fuels and help the local economy and county funding situation.
On economic development, Dyer said business people should team up with area city councils to improve coordination and cooperation. He said the valley is filled with bright, capable people.
"We need to put out a stronger message regarding why businesses should locate and invest here and why people should visit," he said. "We have assets we can sell in a more focused manner."
Dyer has served on the Rogue Valley Transportation District board since 2009.