News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

A hard decision on City Council race

Over four years ago, I ran for City Council and lost. I ran because at that time, the city was lucky to find any candidates at all to fill the three open seats. That was a rather sad state of affairs.

As a member of Indivisible Sisters Steering Committee, we encouraged running for local offices. We were not having much luck at it, so I ran as an example. I filed early, there was one other candidate and me for three open seats. Soon after filing my candidacy, I submitted a letter to the editor of The Nugget explaining the steps to take to run for the office adding, “if you do not want Cobb to be councilor, maybe you too should run.” Soon there were four candidates. I took fourth place.

A couple years later, I ran again. This time, it was because I was seriously interested to take on the challenge of learning how a city works and how I might help this city through some challenging times. I was well aware of climate change from reading about it from about 1982 onward; long before the predicted increases in fire threats, water shortages, and ocean levels rising were beginning to become a reality. I came in third and secured a two-year term that November 2022. I immediately began preparing through more reading, attended training and city meetings, and was installed in January.

Facing an end of that two-year term, I have grappled for the last month with the question of filing for another term or not. I reflected on how fortunate we are in Sisters, having great city employees, highly experienced staff, and the very capable City Manager, Wheeler. I have come to admire and respect aspects of each councilor, President Blum, and Mayor Preedin. Our city has a healthy budget with strong reserves, that is being managed conservatively and yet is generous to the community. Our infrastructure is highly regarded by other Cities. We have a very engaged public that requires a council and city staff that not only listens but responds – which has been done and continues to improve. The job of councilor is a very gratifying feeling as one is part of choosing one direction or another. It is seriously difficult to consider leaving those teams of people, the joint efforts, and the deep sense of purpose.

Nonetheless, I have long felt that elected officials and seats should be a diverse group that reflects whom they represent — their constituents. Electing people younger than 50 (I am 76, by the way) to represent the public is important. Should several younger viable candidates file this year, I told myself and a few I confided in, then I shall not run for office. Currently, there are five candidates, three women and two men. All much younger than I, from varying backgrounds, and each quite capable.

The final filing date is early September. You still have time to throw your hat in the ring. Meanwhile, I will continue to serve you to the best of my ability through the end of this year. As a local voter, I will support the three candidates that Indivisible Sisters endorses.


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