By John Hummel

Deschutes County is the greatest place in the country to live. We were born here and stayed here, or we moved here, because we want to live here. Part of the reason Deschutes County is so great is the quality of our elected leaders. We don’t put our local leaders on pedestals — they are us.

We see our leaders on our soccer fields, in our churches and volunteering for nonprofit organizations. Most important, we see our local leaders working with community members to develop commonsense solutions to problems. Unfortunately, this spirit is missing from District Attorney Patrick Flaherty’s office. I can bring it back.

I practiced criminal trial law in this community for 12 years, so I have the trial skills necessary to keep us safe. I served as a Bend city councilor for six years and proved myself to be an honest and ethical leader. And I served as director of an international organization where I led a team of 40; managed a multimillion-dollar budget; and trained police officers, judges and prosecutors how to keep communities safe, so I have the executive management experience necessary to manage an office as complex as the Deschutes County DA’s office.

Flaherty has failed us. His inexperience and hubris resulted in multiple lawsuits against him that left taxpayers on the hook for over $1.5 million. When I’m your district attorney, I’ll never forget the government’s money is the people’s money.

But Flaherty has not only cost us money; he’s also put our safety at risk. Regular people kill others with their cars and get long jail sentences while well-connected people kill with their cars and get a slap on the wrist. That’s outrageous and won’t happen when I’m your DA.

Here’s what you’ll get with me as your district attorney: experienced and ethical management that will protect your tax dollars; tough prosecution of violent and other serious offenders to keep us safe; fair treatment of all suspects, regardless of how much money they have or how well connected they are; and a spirit of teamwork to engage with the community to develop and enhance innovative crime-prevention programs that reduce our crime rate and help those suffering from mental illness and addiction issues.

I moved to Deschutes County in 1996, purchased my first house here, started and ran a law firm here, served as an elected official here, and have lifelong friends here. This is my home, and I’m committed to this community.

Deschutes County is the greatest place in the country. Not only are we capable of leading the nation in public safety — we have an obligation to do so. With our history, human capital and can-do attitude, we can show the U.S. how to punish those who deserve to be punished, treat those who can benefit from treatment and educate our kids so they avoid crime and addiction in the first place.

If you elect me as your district attorney, I’ll work with you to make Deschutes County the safest place in the country to live and raise a family. Like we always have done, we’ll do it with hard work, toughness and compassion. And we’ll do it together. I understand that a district attorney is a leader, but that leadership is not bestowed; it is earned.

I am proud to be endorsed by every mayor in Deschutes County, law enforcement leaders including former Bend Police Chief Andy Jordan and over 200 community members of all political persuasions. I ask for your vote, appreciate your consideration and would be honored to represent you.

— John Hummel is running for Deschutes County district attorney.