John Morrison

Ashland Mayor said the Jackson County Commission lacks vision, which is why he decided to run for the seat held by C.W. Smith.

He said the commission has lost out on many opportunities for growth because it lacked the vision of anticipating and dealing with changes in funding.

"The main example of that is OC funding," said Morrison. "The commission continues to focus on how things used to be funded 20 years ago. With the change in the timber industry, that money ran out. We have received emergency federal funding, but that too will soon run out."

Morrison, 63, said an effective commission would have seen those changes coming and found new funding sources.

"It takes leadership," he said. "We need to attract new business to this area &

businesses that result in family wage jobs. Then the workforce can pay the taxes and the system works. We haven't been doing that. We've just been focusing on how to get those funds back."

Morrison sees the current energy crisis as an opportunity for new jobs in the area.

"People with vision are looking at alternatives to our dependence on foreign oil," he said. "Oregon has so much to offer, such as wave, wind, geothermal and solar energy. All of those offer opportunities for new industries."

Morrison said the State of Oregon is one of the leaders in investing in new technologies and Southern Oregon needs to tap into those opportunities.

Morrison also thinks that his background as a city councilor and mayor of Ashland, as well as the many regional organizations he's been involved with, will allow him to "hit the ground running" if he's elected.

"I've made a lot of connections and know who the players are," he said. "I also understand the complexities of this area and the issues involved."

Morrison said he hasn't focused too much on raising money for his campaign.

"Right now I'm just getting the word out," he said. "If I win the nomination, then I'll start focusing on fundraising. I project that I'll need about $40,000 to campaign."

Morrison grew up in Talent and graduated from Phoenix High School. He has a degree in political science and worked in many facets of the newspaper industry, including owning the Phoenix-Talent Record. He's served on many regional government commissions, such as the Governor's Task Force on Transportation and Tourism. Morrison is a Vietnam veteran with the U.S. Army and is a divorced father with four adult children.

Reach reporter at 482-3456 x226 or .

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