Former Chamber president runs for commissioner

Two more candidates filed for positions on the Jackson County Board of Commissioners just before Tuesday's deadline, bringing the number of candidates for two positions to an unprecedented 13.

Court Boice of Medford and Rick Nagel of Talent joined the list of hopefuls seeking positions held by Dave Gilmour, who will not seek re-election, and Jack Walker, who will.

Nagel, a Phoenix-Talent school board member and tax accountant, is the third Republican to challenge Walker in the May 18 primary. The 73-year-old Talent resident is running against Gold Hill resident Morris "Bub" Saltekoff, Medford resident Don Skundrick, and Walker, who lives in Phoenix.

On the Democratic ticket, Ashland resident Jeff Golden will be unopposed in the primary.

Boice, 55, a jet boat operator and river guide, is one of five Republicans vying for Commissioner Dave Gilmour's seat. He will face Medford resident Doug Breidenthal, Central Point resident Kay Harrison, rural Medford resident Craig Prewitt and Central Point resident John Rachor.

Three Democrats are running in the May primary for Gilmour's seat: Medford residents Buck Eichler and Jim Sims, and Jacksonville resident Mark Wisnovsky.

The number of candidates for the two commissioner positions is the largest since at least 1990.

Nagel said he's thought about running before, but decided that since he is semi-retired as of last year, now would be the best opportunity. If elected, he said he would devote himself full time to his job as county commissioner.

He said he's always been civic-minded — he's the president of OnTrack, the addictions treatment center, and was twice president of the Ashland Chamber of Commerce.

"What I bring is a business background," he said. "I have the ability to go in and listen and learn and find out what's on people's mind."

Nagel said his combined background in business and community work make him highly qualified for the commissioner seat. He said he would like to find ways to bring more jobs to Jackson County as part of his role as commissioner.

He said he's filed a Measure 37 claim on his Talent property, referring to the property rights initiative that was overturned by Measure 49. While he believes land-use laws could be more flexible for property owners, Nagel said he supports preserving the natural beauty of the state.

"I guess I'm an environmentalist," he said. "Anybody is an environmentalist if you're from Oregon."

Nagel said he would step down from his school board position if elected, though it wouldn't be required. He said the commissioner position is a full-time job.

He thinks the commissioner salary, which is more than $90,000, is high and he would entertain the idea of decreasing it.

Boice said it will be his mission to keep liberals out of office. Strict adherence to the Constitution and the election of conservatives at all levels is the best road to job recovery, he said.

He said he comes from working class origins and lives in the trenches, like many families in Jackson County. As a result, job creation is essential, and government should get out of the way of business.

"Government must get off all the 'air hoses' of business," he said in a prepared statement.

Boice said he will not vote for any more pay raises for commissioners and will try to seek a "fairness consensus" on present salaries.

He said Washington, D.C., and Salem have both abandoned the Rogue Valley, so this area needs to figure out how to survive on its own. Commissioners should lend their support and encourage local churches that have stepped up during the economic downturn.

Boice was the last candidate to file in the commissioners' races.

"Sure, I'm the underdog and late, but I am determined to be in the debate and will work very hard to keep liberals out of positions of power," he said.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or

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