NAME: Mae Huston

AGE: 67

RESIDENCE: Culver

EDUCATION: Associate degree, Mount Hood Community College

NAME: Kimberly Schmith

AGE: 51

RESIDENCE: Madras

EDUCATION: Bachelor of Science, Human Development and Family Studies, Oregon State University; Master’s of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, Oregon College of Oriental Medicine

Political newcomer Kimberly Schmith is challenging Commissioner Mae Huston for one of two county commission positions that Jefferson County voters will see on the May 15 ballot.

Huston is seeking re-election for the seat she has held since 2014. The second seat will be vacated by Commissioner Mike Ahern, who is retiring at the end of his term.

Huston, 67, moved to Culver in 2005 and was elected to the Jefferson County Commissioner after a close race against former Madras city Councilor Tom Brown in 2014.

She has been involved with the Madras Area Community Action Team, the Culver Urban Renewal District, the Madras-Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce and the Juniper Branch of Family Finders.

“I love my county,” Huston said. “I love working for the citizens, and I hope they appreciate that. I’m a very hard worker, and I want our government to serve our taxpayers well.”

Huston has worked in customer service for Earth2o, a Culver-based bottled water company, and as tax preparer for H&R Block. She also spent 11 years as an administrative secretary for the Rockwood Water Public District board of directors in Multnomah County.

She has been known to be fiscally conservative, she said, and appreciates the work that has been done by the Jefferson County Commission.

“I feel like we have done a very good job of being fiscally conservative,” Huston said. “Budgeting is always a challenge because there are more needs than resources. But I think with the resources we have available, we do a good job serving our customers.”

Schmith, 51, of Madras, has lived and worked around the globe, but she knows how special rural communities are, she said. Schmith moved to Madras in 1968 and returned in 1999 after living in Asia to help take care of her father.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies from Oregon State University and a master’s degree in acupuncture and oriental studies from the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine. A Madras High School alum, Schmith wants the opportunity to invest in the community’s youth, she said.

“I know my community, and I appreciate my community,” Schmith said. “I am very proud of the county, and I think it already does a good job, but I am not going to pretend we don’t have a housing problem, and I am not going to pretend we have everyone at the table. If you are not serving the entire population, you have a problem. Government is strongest when it is inclusive of all residents.”

Schmith owns an acupuncture clinic in Madras and has served on the J Bar J Youth Services board of directors. Her experience and problem-solving skills would help address education and affordable housing — two main problems facing Jefferson County, she said.

“I want (Jefferson County) to grow and keep rural livability,” Schmith said. “I love my community, and I am approachable. People are willing to talk to me. I really bring a common-sense approach to problem solving, and I am not afraid to take on challenges. Democracy works when we have a good conversation, and the county will be stronger for these kinds of dialogue.”

Jefferson County Commission seats are nonpartisan. A candidate who receives more than 50 percent of the votes in the primary is elected.

— Reporter: 541-617-7829, acolosky@bendbulletin.com

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