Democrat, Independent challenge Dyer and Roberts for county commission

Declared candidates for Jackson County commission seats are, from left, Al Densmore, incumbent Colleen Roberts, Denise Krause and Rick Dyer.
March 12, 2022

Ashland resident Denise Krause files as Democrat for May 17 primary

By Stephen Floyd for Ashland.news

A Democrat and an Independent are running against two Republican incumbents for Jackson County commissioner during the Nov. 8 general election. Three, including a candidate from Ashland, will appear on the May 17 primary ballot.

Denise Krause (D), of Ashland, filed Tuesday, March 8, to run against incumbent Rick Dyer (R), of Medford, for position 1, while Al Densmore (I), of Medford, is running against incumbent Colleen Roberts (R), of Gold Hill, for position 3.

Krause, Dyer and Roberts will appear on the May 17 primary ballot, but as the only candidates for their parties for each position, they will receive the nomination by default unless a write-in candidate receives a majority of votes. The deadline to file for the primary was Tuesday, while the deadline to withdraw was Friday.

Densmore, as an Independent, does not require a party nomination to run and did not file for the primary, so he will not appear on the ballot until Nov. 8.

Dyer has held his seat since 2015, with past government experience on the Rogue Valley Transportation District Board of Directors from 2009-2014. His professional background includes ownership of home repair and remodeling business Northwest Energy Solutions, and as a private attorney.

His work as a county commissioner has included serving as board chair and vice chair, and as liaison for the Airport Advisory Committee, Economic Development Advisory Committee, Health and Human Services Department, Surveyor’s Office.

Krause does not have prior government experience, but served for 24 years as a professor with University of Mississippi Medical Center. She is currently president of Health Data Analytics, which she founded in 2017 to gather and analyze data on Oregon’s health workforce.

Her educational background includes a Ph.D. in epidemiology and preventative medicine, a master’s degree in Russian and international policy, and a bachelor’s degree in Russian and Soviet Studies.

Roberts has served as commissioner since 2015, during which time she has served as chair and board liaison to the Jackson County Planning Commission, Marijuana Advisory Committee, Fair Board and Taylor Grazing Fund. She has also served on the Association of O&C Counties Board of Directors, advocating for federal timber funds for member counties.

As a professional, Roberts founded Sensational Sweets in 1993, a bakery in Eagle Point. After 28 years, she successfully sold the business last September.

Densmore has a long history of public office in Oregon, including as state representative from 1971 to 1976, mayor of Medford from 1977 to 1983, and on the Medford City Council from 2007 to 2013. He attempted to run for Secretary of State in 1976, but failed to receive the Democratic nomination, and again for state representative in 1996 as a Republican, but lost the primary to the incumbent.

Densmore left the Democratic Party in 1989 to become a Republican, citing disillusionment with the Democrats’ approach to small businesses and the economy. However the partisanship between both parties has prompted Densmore to run now as an Independent.

His professional background includes teaching at Medford High School, insurance sales and financial consulting. In addition to public office, he has served as president of the Rogue Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, and chairman of the board for the Southern Oregon Education Service District.

Email freelance reporter Stephen Floyd at sfloydmedia@gmail.com.

April 30 update: Spelling corrected in headline of Krause’s name.

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Bert Etling

Bert Etling

Bert Etling is the executive editor of Ashland.news. Email him at betling@ashland.news.

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