Experience as an elected official and a varied background in business qualifies incumbent Tony DeBone, of La Pine, as the Republican primary choice for Deschutes County Commissioner. DeBone took over his current post in 2011, at a time when the county was struggling to shake off the recession, and since then, has done a steady job offering a spate of Republican ideals and a utilitarian attitude. For example, La Pine's struggled with groundwater contamination for years, and while Richard Esterman, a Sisters resident vying for DeBone's seat, claims to be equipped to quickly solve the issue, the incumbent voices a measured approach. "You don't just go mandate (a solution). You'd start a civil war if you do something like that. You've got to work with a lot of folks—input from the state land use process, and the citizens who are living there," DeBone said at the Source offices during the endorsement interview.
Moreover, DeBone takes a measured tone on the county's growth, saying it's going to happen, whether we like it or not—and believes that scaling services—like the Sheriff's office, jail operations and waste management—will be imperative.
We appreciate some of the perspectives that challenger Esterman has on government; most directly, he sees the value in simply running for office, despite the outcome. Such public participation is admirable, if not slightly quixotic. And Esterman has funded his current campaign with his own money, explaining that outside funds and influence entering the community could be a destructive force.
The real race—and dramatic choices between ideals and qualifications—will shape up in the months leading up to the General Election, bipartisan showdown with Jodie Barram.