Olney will face Smith for county commission seat

Ashland resident Jim Olney, 55, will go up against incumbent Jackson County Commissioner C.W. Smith in November.

Olney, the executive director of the Jackson County Library Foundation, beat out Ashland Mayor John Morrison and Colestin Valley resident Scott Keith in Tuesday night's Democratic primary election.

According to the latest election results this morning, Olney received 10,165 votes, or 49 percent; Morrison received 6,750 votes, or 33 percent; and Keith received 3,330 votes, or 16 percent.

Chris Walker, Jackson County Clerk of Court, this morning said Olney only needed to get the largest number of votes in the primary, not the 50 percent plus one vote in some of the other races.

All three Democratic candidates ran on a platform that the county lacked vision; but Olney also wanted more accountability and transparency from the Jackson County government.

Olney said he made it a point to knock on doors and meet as many people as possible because he wants more citizens involved in their county government.

He said his goal would be to hold the commission meetings in the evenings and throughout the county, not just in Medford.

"I also want the minutes to be available online," Olney said this morning. "Right now, if you want the minutes, you have to drive to Medford to get them. Making those easily accessible from the Web &

that's just Government 101."

Olney said his strategic plan for ousting Smith will be knocking on more Jackson County doors and hearing what residents want to see from their county government now, as well as ten to fifteen years down the road.

Democratic candidate Keith, 44, ran for political office for the first time in his life and said he doesn't regret the decision at all.

"I wish I had gotten more votes, of course; but for being relatively unknown, I'm satisfied with the results," he said.

Keith said campaigning was an incredible experience and he recommends it to everyone.

Morrison did not return several calls from the Tidings.

Reach reporter at 482-3456 x226 or .

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