Rex Burkholder, Bob Stacey, and Tom Hughes are all running for the nonpartisan Metro Council president job and political junkies are calling this race one of the more interesting of the primary season. Metro is the only elected regional government in the country. The seven member council (six councilors and one council president) control a $425 million budget to put towards transportation and land use planning as well as services such as recycling, the zoo and some parks. The council serves 25 cities in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties. The current council president, David Bragdon, can’t run again because his term limit is up. To date he hasn’t endorsed any of the three vying to be his successor.
Metro is perhaps best known for managing the urban growth boundary and while urban and rural reserves have come up in the course of the campaign thus far, the focus has been more on transportation, specifically the Columbia River Crossing, and job creation.
Economic development is a bit of an unusual focus for a Metro election campaign and each candidate is challenged with drawing a clear connection between planning and jobs. That’s just one reason this race is one to watch. If none of the candidates wins by more than 50 percent in the May primary, the two names with the most votes will be on the ballot in November.
What’s the most important role Metro plays in your life? What questions do you have for Tom Hughes, Rex Burkholder and Bob Stacey? What are you looking for in the next Metro president?