The 59-year-old radio personality and writer is the only Democrat to file so far in the May 18 primary for that seat on the three-member commission.

MEDFORD — Former Jackson County Commissioner Jeff Golden announced Wednesday he will run for the commissioner's position now held by Jack Walker.

The 59-year-old Ashland radio personality and writer is the only Democrat to file so far in the May 18 primary for that seat on the three-member commission. Walker faces opposition in the primary from two Republicans, Medford resident Don Skundrick and Gold Hill resident Morris "Bub" Saltekoff.

Golden, who filed his candidacy papers Wednesday, served as a county commissioner from 1987 to 1991.

Walker, who said he expects to file his candidacy papers this week, has been a commissioner since 1995.

Golden announced his candidacy at Democratic Party headquarters in downtown Medford before some 40 supporters.

Golden said the number of candidates seeking the two seats — 10 so far — is encouraging and hoped it bodes well for local Democrats. The Board of Commissioners has two Republicans, Walker and C.W. Smith, and one Democrat, Dr. Dave Gilmour.

Golden said his main emphases as commissioner would be on job development, increasing agricultural enterprises, improving the local use of water, transportation issues and developing more programs for young people.

"We have a disgracefully low level of support for our community colleges," Golden said, referring to cutbacks in higher education.

While much work has been accomplished on local highways, Golden said the one-person, one-car mentality needs to be improved.

"I personally don't think we are going to pave our way out of congestion," he said.

Golden observed that just 3 percent of the agricultural products consumed locally are grown in the Rogue Valley. He said smaller-scale agricultural endeavors could increase the amount of food that is locally grown and create more local jobs. At the same time, the valley should find a better way to use its water resources.

Tied in with his desire to increase agricultural production locally, Golden said he wants to spur growth in local businesses by removing impediments to growth.

"We want to be asking our local businesses, 'What can we do to help you succeed?' " he said.

The idea of buying local, growing local and thinking local is a theme other candidates have mentioned. Golden said he welcomed discussion about these topics by all the candidates.

He praised Jackson County officials for pulling county government out of a financial hole three years ago and building up a general fund reserve that is projected to be $61 million at the end of this fiscal year.

"The professional administration deserves big credit for that," he said.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune.com.