Think Out Loud

Jackie Linton will become Hermiston city council’s first Black member

By Allison Frost (OPB)
June 13, 2022 5:25 p.m. Updated: July 11, 2022 10:40 p.m.

Broadcast: Monday, June 13

Jackie Linton was born and raised in Hermiston. She wasn’t particularly involved in civic life until recently but has become a vocal advocate for a variety of issues in the last few years. Linton ran for city council previously, before winning the city council seat last month. She joins us to share more of her story and what her priorities will be when she takes office next year.


Note: The following transcript was created by a computer and edited by a volunteer.

Dave Miller: This is Think Out Loud on OPB. I’m Dave Miller. Jackie Linton was born and raised in Hermiston. She moved away in high school and spent a lot of her adult life in Washington state. But she has been back in Hermiston for about a decade now, and she has become increasingly involved in civic and political life there. In fact, last month she won a seat on the city council, and when she is sworn in in January, she will be the first ever African American member of the council. Jackie Linton, congratulations, and welcome.

Jackie Linton: Thank you very much. I’m glad to be here.

Miller: It’s good to have you on. So as I noted, you were born and raised in Hermiston. Then you had a career in Tacoma before moving to Georgia to help take care of your granddaughter, and then you came back to Hermiston about 10 years ago. Did it feel like home after a long chunk of time away?

Linton: Hermiston has always felt like home. I have family that live there, my grandmother lived there, and I went to Hermiston several times during the year. So it always felt like home.

Miller: When did you first consider running for office?

Linton: About four years ago I ran, and I didn’t win, and then I ran again, and this time I did win.

Miller: What prompted you that first time to run?

Linton: Well I was very interested in what was happening with the city council. A lot of things I agreed with, and some things I did not that they had approved. And so I decided that I wanted to be a part of the decision making.

Miller: Had you been active politically before in terms of ever running for office, or thinking that was something you even would do?

Linton: Only on my job when I ran for the president of our union. I didn’t win that, but I was a secretary and also treasurer with my union in Washington State.

Miller: A version of leadership, but different from public office. What was campaigning like for you that first time four years ago?

Linton: It was very good. I walked around to canvass different homes, and I had a chance to talk to people and let them know what I was standing for, and different things that were voted on that I said if I was on the council, I would not vote for that, I would vote against it. And I found that a lot of people agreed with it.


Miller: What were some of the issues four years ago that were most important to you, and issues that you heard from people you were talking to?

Linton: One of the biggest issues was the property tax for Amazon. A lot of people disagree with the property tax breaks that they got. A lot of people were upset about that.

And some raises on our water, a lot of people complained about having to pay so much. They felt that they were being hurt with the increase, and they were kinda upset over it.

Miller: As you noted, you didn’t win that first time in 2018, but you did win this time. It was a real squeaker, it was very close, but you beat an incumbent. What do you think made the difference?

Linton: The issues that I was running on I believe made the difference. And the fact that I went around and talked to people like I did before, and this time I was able to talk to more people, because last time I had a late start in going out and canvassing and talking to people about issues. This time I was able to start sooner, and I was able to talk to more people and let them know what I stand for.

Miller: What was it like when you looked at the results and actually realized you were going to be on city council?

Linton: I was very excited. I was happy that people trusted me to go on the city council and represent them.

Miller: According to the census, the city of Hermiston is about 52% Hispanic or Latino, and about 45% white, but only about 0.3% Black. What does it mean to you to be the first African American member of the city council?

Linton: It’s an honor. And also I feel that people voted for me because of what I was running for, and not my race. But being the first is still an honor.

Miller: Did you experience racism or discrimination growing up in Hermiston?

Linton: There was a little discrimination. Usually it was from people that lived on the outskirts of Hermiston. Hermiston is an awesome place to live. I think the people there are just great, but there was a different time where even if they didn’t like you because of your race, they still show you respect as a person. And so that was awesome.

Miller: What do you see as the most challenging issues that Hermiston is facing right now?

Linton: The most challenging I believe is the housing, and setting up shelters for the homeless, getting them and the services that they need. And also helping with the veterans. Those are probably the main ones.

And also, we need about four police officers. They were going to hire two more, but we need extra to make sure that we’re fully staffed. And I think as we grow we need to keep up with that, as well as the other things.

Miller: If we were to talk in four years, what would you like to be able to say about your time on council to think for yourself that your term was a success?

Linton: That we achieve the goals that we set out to do. Working with the other council members to achieve the goals and accomplish what we have set out to do with the housing, with the homeless, with the police department, with small businesses, they are in need of help. So I’m hoping that we can accomplish those things.

Contact “Think Out Loud®”

If you’d like to comment on any of the topics in this show or suggest a topic of your own, please get in touch with us on Facebook or Twitter, send an email to, or you can leave a voicemail for us at 503-293-1983. The call-in phone number during the noon hour is 888-665-5865.