The election season yard signs are out in full force in Philomath and although various likeminded homeowners may be simply showing support for their chosen candidates, there is also the perception that certain alliances may exist.

Philomath’s recent City Council election past has seen public declarations of support among groups of candidates — in 2020 and 2022. Is there anything to it? Do certain candidates just seem to be allies with similar views and perspectives on the issues? How do the candidates themselves feel about it?

This is the fifth of a five-part series of questions and answers to be published this week at PhilomathNews.com. Philomath mayoral candidates are incumbent Chas Jones and challenger Lawrence Johnson.

For more information, the Benton County Elections Office uploaded each candidate’s filing form. Information on the forms include details on occupation, educational background and prior governmental experience. Click here for Jones. Click here for Johnson.

In addition, the Benton County Voters’ Pamphlet is available here.

This is the fifth of five questions asked of the candidates. Each candidate was allowed no more than 200 words for each individual answer with no exceptions. Answers were edited only for punctuation and typos and to conform to newspaper style guidelines (abbreviations, capitalization, etc.).

Many in the community believe that the candidates have associated themselves with certain other candidates whether it’s through advertising, yard signs or other means. What are your thoughts on these perceived alliances, including the pros and cons of this election strategy?

JOHNSON: Responsible citizens vote on candidates qualifications, performance records, prior voting record and stated intentions. Voters often rely on endorsements because they know and/or trust the endorser. Endorsements are appropriate.

My name and information is included in a handout along with three other candidates. Inclusion of my name with others is a form of endorsement. Each of the candidates include information about qualification and goals. Voters can review the information and vote as they see fit.

Alliances are inappropriate. The alliance that appears in several of the other candidates’ statements, websites, newspaper and lawn signs implies that voters should vote for the alliance members as a voting block.

The city charter provides for six councilors and one mayor each with a vote. The intent of having seven members voting is to provide differences of opinions, different skillsets so that the city benefits from the collective knowledge of seven different individuals. An alliance implies one thought. Philomath voters need the benefit of seven divergent, thoughtful and independent council members.

JONES: Tough decisions will not always be easy, but the conversations can be balanced, respectful and meaningful. While there are a number of candidates that have some good ideas for Philomath, there are seven candidates that understand how to shape local policy through respectful discourse. They view city governance as a shared democratic process that is most effective when diverse, balanced and respectful voices come together to have a meaningful dialogue.

Those seven candidates do not attempt to dominate conversations, nor do they tend to twist facts or share misinformation. The candidates that I am supporting bring a balanced perspective to local governance. They believe that we will achieve greater outcomes by lifting others up rather than tearing them down. The candidates that I am supporting are simply good team players. The players on a team do not all share the same opinion or perspective, but they have a shared goal. In this case, there is a clear slate of candidates that will bring out the best that Philomath has to offer.

Visit www.chasjones.com to learn more about my perspectives.

CANDIDATES Q-and-A
Monday, Oct. 17: What do you envision as the role of the mayor and what do you believe constitutes appropriate and effective citizen representation?
Tuesday, Oct. 18: What is your top priority for this city over the length of your public service?
Wednesday, Oct. 19: Housing developments have been a major issue in Philomath over the past few years. What’s your perspective on what the city needs to do moving forward to avoid some of the pitfalls that have been seen?
Thursday, Oct. 20: City government transparency concerns seem to occasionally surface. Do you believe transparency is an issue? If so, what would you do to fix it? If not, what do you think the city is doing that’s working?
Friday, Oct. 21: Many in the community believe that the candidates have associated themselves with certain other candidates whether it’s through advertising, yard signs or other means. What are your thoughts on these perceived alliances, including the pros and cons of this election strategy?

Brad Fuqua, Philomath News

Brad Fuqua has covered the Philomath area since 2014 as the editor of the now-closed Philomath Express and currently as publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He has worked as a professional journalist since 1988 at daily and weekly newspapers in Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, Arizona, Montana and Oregon.