|Oregon Senate District 8 will soon have a new State Senator, Betsy Close, selected from a group of three candidates, by the six Commissioners from Linn & Benton County. Senator Frank Morse who resigned just about one month ago will leave a footprint that is quite large and will take an extraordinary person to equal Morse's stature and accomplishments in Salem. Hopefully Betsy Close is up to the task.|
However the process that was used to fill this vacancy leaves much to be desired. I have concerns, and citizens/voters should as well, that the process does not pass the "Smell Test". One of the Benton County Commissioners Annabelle Jaramillo (D) cast the deciding vote. Jamarillo saw fit to not recuse herself from voting even though she is running against Betsy Close in the race for Benton County Commissioner to be decided within the next few weeks. In addition Linn County Commissioner John Lindsey (R) was a part of the selection process at the Republican nominating convention held a week ago. Lindsey was advocating for Betsy Close. It is reasonable to conclude that both Lindsey and Jaramillo received appropriate legal counsel in determining whether they should cast a vote in this process.
The behind the scenes possibilities are not even remotely transparent. Both Lindsey the Republican and Jaramillo the Democrat should have recused themselves from the process. Transparency, what transparency? More sand has been raised with the issue of President Barack Obama attending the wedding of Newsperson Martha Raddatz in 1991 as he was a friend from Harvard of the groom. It should also be noted that Martha Raddatz is currently divorced from that husband and well that is how it works with the pressure on the media and their relationships to Political figures.
The Betsy Close decision while on its own seems as though process was followed it certainly leaves one with the thought that somehow decisions are made with consequences and unintentional consequences the result. Voters might change their minds and not vote for Betsy Close for Commissioner because they may conclude that Betsy Close already has the job of Oregon State Senator District 8. This could in fact benefit incumbent Annabelle Jaramillo.
Betsy Close is not totally out from under the microscope. Should she win the race against Annabelle Jaramillo then more political wrangling will result. Which position would Betsy Close choose, Benton County Commissioner or State Senator? Who benefits, the politicians or the public? You make the decision on that issue.