Jackson County Board of Commissioners candidate Henry Marlowe Jr. believes the county needs to dream big in order to boost its economy.
He would like to see the nation reinstate its scrapped space shuttle program and send expeditions to the moon to bring back helium-3, a type of helium that is rare on Earth.
Marlowe, a Central Point resident, said helium-3 could be used for a nuclear fusion power-generating plant here in the Rogue Valley.
Residence: Central Point
Employment: Retired engineer
Political experience: None
"What a dream to revitalize the space shuttle system and have a fusion plant here in Oregon," he said.
Marlowe, a retired electrical engineer, is running against business owner Rick Dyer in the May Republican primary for Jackson County Commissioner Position 1.
Don Skundrick, who currently holds the seat, is not running again.
Marlowe, 72, said he spent a year as a high school teacher, teaching electronics to a class of troubled teens. When one student brought a gun to school, Marlowe said he took the loaded gun from the boy and pointed it in his face, warning the other students that he would shoot the next student who brought a gun to school.
Marlowe said he later worked as a school bus driver in Medford, where he upset some students and parents because he gained control over the rowdy students by not letting them sit with their friends.
Marlowe, who doesn't have an email address or campaign website, said America has become too reliant on the Internet and computers. With everything from transportation to communication controlled by computers, he said society is not prepared for the chaos and disruption that would ensue if the Internet shut down.
In May, voters will decide whether to approve a measure banning the growing of genetically modified organisms in the county. Marlowe said he is opposed to GMO crops, but the measure invites litigation.
Voters will also decide whether to approve new property taxes to fund a library district.
Marlowe said he loves libraries, but can't support a new property tax for the library district because too many homeowners are living on the margins.
"Someone's going to lose their home. I can't see one person losing their home for a library. If they close, that is a sign of the times," he said.
If elected to be a commissioner, Marlowe said one of his top priorities would be to fund libraries with existing county revenue, not a new tax.
County commissioners will have to take up the issue of where, and under what conditions, to allow medical marijuana dispensaries in the county.
Marlowe said he would like to see the eradication of marijuana and a ban on dispensaries.
While some people are arguing for an increase in logging to spur the local economy and funnel money into county coffers, Marlowe said when logging levels were high, Oregon erred in sending too many logs overseas to China for processing, rather than turning logs into plywood and other wood products at home.
He said he supports wood products manufacturing here, but the county must also diversify into other sectors, such as the high-tech industry.
"Our sons and daughters have aspirations beyond logging," Marlowe said.