Home»News»Election 2016»Meet Your Candidates: City of Medford, City Council, Ward Three

Meet Your Candidates: City of Medford, City Council, Ward Three

2
Shares
Pinterest Google+

Kay Brooks

03-21-news-candidates-kayRogue Valley Messenger: You have served on city committees. How has that experience either prepared or inspired you to run for council?

Kay Brooks: Serving as a Housing and Community Development Commissioner for the City has provided a profound opportunity to better understand the breadth of needs and desires within Medford—both in its current state and visions we collectively hold for its future. Clearly, housing is a huge issue in our community currently. Our housing inventory is remarkably low. This translates to a staggeringly low rental vacancy rate, which, in turn, translates further to skyrocketing rental prices and rates of homelessness.

My hope is to utilize my experience as a Housing Commissioner to both address our current housing crisis and undertake preemptive measures to avoid a crisis like this in our future.

My experiences on the Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee, along with the Tree Committee and Neighborhood Street Planting Partnership, have imbued me with a strong sense of priority around the quality of life we afford our citizens. Safer parks; maintained, functioning sidewalks; repairing our blighted historical district areas; and keeping an eye toward development that incentivizes intelligent design–these and other areas of interest have been the source of motivation of my civic engagement and optimistic view of where Medford could be headed.

RVM: What is your “calling card” issue for this campaign?

KB: Livability, definitely, and fiscal accountability. I love Medford, and I want it to be able to realize its fullest potential as the hub of beautiful Southern Oregon. To me, this question comes as: how are we promoting, providing, and planning for Medford to be the city we need and want it to be? How are we intelligently planning a community for our children to not only grow up in…but to also look forward to remaining in as adults?

My family moved here to raise a child, but we want our investment in our daughter to be an investment in our community too. The “brain drain” cities like ours experience—this being when our residents move away for better careers or opportunities—weakens our long-term economic viability as well as the ability to retain our brightest and most talented community members bringing innovation, industry, and overall improvement to our region.

Fiscal accountability, to me, is the question: Are we using our municipal budget in the way our City really needs and wants? Are we optimizing opportunities presented? Or are we squandering our city’s potential on account of greed and nepotism? This is, of course, a tale told in many cities I would imagine–but can we weave a different one altogether?

RVM: Can you pay a compliment to your challengers? 

KB: I have a lot of respect for anyone that is willing to undertake the challenge of pursuing and serving in public office. Especially in a position like Medford’s City Council, which is unpaid, it takes a lot of time out of our personal lives—so someone willing to do this must really be committed to living the life of service. And I respect that, truly.

RVM: It is an interesting that you are the only woman for this seat. Is that affecting the tone or topics of the campaign?

KB: I’m sure with the current political climate during this totally bizarre national election season, there’s something noteworthy about women running for political office. However, I think it’s also noteworthy that male opponents’ gender is typically never mentioned—as if it’s almost the default gender for political office. That shouldn’t be the case.

I appreciate very much the other women running for city council this cycle, as well as innumerable women running for elected office around the state and country, and I hope it helps to normalize folks with different identities stepping into these roles (and yes, I say that “as a mother to a daughter”).

RVM: What do you see as the biggest challenge(s) for the City of Medford in the upcoming four years? 

Lack of housing. Lack of industry. And the economic issues that both these things entail, of course. Our rental prices and rates of homelessness will only grow–and they’re affecting people at every stage of the economic ladder. If we don’t get ahead of this, I fear our current state will only worsen yet. We have a lot of work to do ahead of us, but I think we’re also looking forward to those visions of a better Medford being realized.

RVM: Favorite locally-produced drink? 

I’m pretty partial to the Thai tea at Siam Thai; a mocha at Mellelo’s; or a craftbrew that represents to me Southern Oregon.

 

 

Chad McComas

03-21-news-candidates-chadRogue Valley Messenger: What is your “calling card” issue for this campaign?  

Chad McComas: I believe that as an active citizen in the community for over 20 years I have a good idea of the needs of the people of Ward 3. Many are working poor, senior citizens living on limited income, the homeless and more. I want to be a voice for them on City Council as the Council tackles the hard challenges facing Medford in the coming years.

RVM: You have talked about homelessness being an important issue for council.  Can you provide some thought about programs you would support or bring to council?

CM: The Medford City Housing Commission is working hard at finding creative ways to deal with the crisis of a lack of housing for the working poor and the homeless. As a member of the commission I’m working with my fellow commissioners to find answers. As the Executive Director for Rogue Retreat we are actively putting together a prototype called Hope Village that will take some of the homeless off the streets, provide individual case management and help the homeless find more permanent housing and opportunities to better their lives and become active participating members of the community. The City must address this issue and find ways to get the homeless off the streets. Many studies across this country show that it is far cheaper for our community to house the homeless than allow them to continue to live on the streets. 

RVM: What role does your work as a pastor play in this campaign?

CM: Our country has created a good separation between church and state. I honor that, but as a pastor who cares about his community I want to be part of finding the answers that the people I serve face. I can’t sit back and hope that someone else will deal with it. I feel called to be an active part of the solution. I believe the Council will benefit from the principles I believe and live in my own life.

RVM: Can you pay a compliment to your challengers? 

CM: I only know one of my challengers. That is Katherine who is a co-member of the Medford City Housing Commission. I know her to be a wonderful person of great passion for the community and the people. I respect her. I assume that the other two challengers are also good citizens with a passion to serve.

RVM: What do you see as the biggest challenge(s) for the City of Medford in the upcoming four years? 

CM: Many of the challenges the city faces are dovetailed together. The City Council will need to be able to clearly see each issue, but not be blind to how each issue affects another. For instance, the City Council has had to work hard at finding ways to make the legalization of Marijuana work with the citizens of Medford. We can see how they are seeking ways to be fair to all citizens.  But…this issue also affects our court system, our law enforcement, our businesses, our citizens and community watch. This also dovetails into the homeless issue, property rights, and more.

RVM: If you were a character on the “Simpsons” (or chose a favorite TV show), who would that be?

CM: Sorry, I don’t watch the “Simpsons.” I frankly have little time for watching TV shows.

RVM: Favorite locally-produced drink? 

CM: Since I work with so many recovering alcoholics and drug addicts, and I’m on the board of The Addiction Recovery Center, I don’t drink.

 

The other two candidates did not respond to questions.

 

No Comment

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *