Announcement comes just before opening of filing period on Wednesday
By Bert Etling, Ashland.news
Ashland City Councilor Stefani Seffinger will not seek a third term on the council, she announced Saturday, a week after successful surgery to remove a melanoma. She intends “to continue to serve the last months of my term with dedication,” she said in a statement circulated to city staff members and posted on her Facebook page.
Seffinger wanted to make her intentions known prior to the opening of the candidate filing period on Wednesday, June 1, marking “the beginning of selection season,” she wrote. ”Because I want this to be a vibrant time for Ashland with the many important decisions that lie ahead, I decided to announce now that I will not be running for re-election this November 2022.”
Seffinger served as a commissioner and chair of the Ashland Parks & Recreation Commission prior to her election to the council in 2014. She was reelected in 2018.
Three of the six council seats are up for election on Nov. 8.
Besides Seffinger’s term, those of Tonya Graham and Stephen Jensen also expire at the end of the year.
Candidates have from June 1 through Aug. 12 to file papers with City Recorder Melissa Huhtala.
Candidates are required to live in Ashland, be registered to vote in Oregon, file for candidacy, submit a petition with 25 valid signatures, and abide by campaign finance reporting requirements.
Besides the council seats, three of the five Parks Commission seats are up for election. Those are currently held by Julian Bell, Rick Landt and Jim Bachman.
Also on the ballot will be the positions of municipal court judge, currently held by Pamela Turner, and city recorder, currently held by Huhtala.
More information about filing requirements are available on the city recorder’s page on the city website.
As councilor, Seffinger’s priorities, according to her profile on the city website, are to: focus on basic city needs prior to discretionary spending; addressing climate change and fire safety; promoting affordable housing; supporting a growing economic base; services for seniors; addressing homelessness; and advocating for mental health and drug treatment services.
“I hope that I will leave a legacy of looking at the needs and values of all citizens and Ashland employees and working to create a sustainable future for the generations to come,” she says in her statement about not running. “I hope that this election season will bring forth candidates with the wisdom and perspective to find balance and a commitment to looking at all sides of an issue.
“I hope that campaigns are focused on the candidate’s experience, visions and actions that will move us forward. I do believe we can have differences in philosophy or actions we think are best without losing our compassion and respect for each other.
“I want our city to continue to work for a sustainable future and continue to foster diversity, equality and independent thinking.”
“You leave a giant legacy of accomplishments,” commented Oregon Rep. Pam Marsh, who served with Seffinger on the council prior to her election to state office, on Seffinger’s Facebook post. “This community has been so fortunate to have your gifts.”
“Your legacy of service is a remarkable gift to this community,” commented Dennis Slattery, another former co-councilor. “It was an honor and privilege to have served with you.”
The council’s next meeting is on Monday, June 6, at which it is expected to continue discussion of budget cuts in preparation for the beginning of the next fiscal year on July 1.
Email Ashland.news Executive Editor Bert Etling at email@example.com or call or text him at 541-631-1313.
May 30 update: List of Parks Commissioner posts up for election corrected to include a third position.