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Candidates make their introductions at Tualatin Chamber of Commerce forum

City Council, HD 37 contenders attend event.

TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - From left, candidates Sonya Ambuehl, Paul Morrison, Robert Kellogg, Joelle Davis, Paul Southwick and Julie Parrish introduced themselves to members of the public in Tualatin at a Sept. 28 forum. At far right, Tualatin High School students Jordan Maddox and Allison Mo (right) moderated the event.Candidates for local and legislative office in Tualatin had an opportunity last Wednesday to introduce themselves to the public at a forum hosted by the Tualatin Chamber of Commerce and Tualatin High School Future Business Leaders of America.

There is not much drama in the elections to the Tualatin City Council this year. Only one of the three seats up in this year's election features a contested race, with first-time candidates Sonya Ambuehl and Paul Morrison vying to succeed outgoing Councilor Monique Beikman. However, unopposed candidates Robert Kellogg (running for outgoing Councilor Ed Truax's seat) and Joelle Davis (seeking re-election for a third term on the council) also appeared at the forum.

State Rep. Julie Parrish, R-West Linn, and her Democratic opponent, Tualatin resident Paul Southwick, attended the forum as well, although most of the questions they fielded were general enough to apply to the City Council candidates as well.

The six candidates had an opportunity at the outset to introduce themselves and explain why they are in the race.

Ambuehl, who chairs the Tualatin Library Advisory Committee, said she became interested in the idea of serving on the City Council because she has enjoyed her experience on volunteer committees.

“I thought, ‘Why not?’ I like my community. Why not try to help my community from a different standpoint?” she said. “So I thought I'd come in and try it and see if I can be liked by the community as I like my community.”

While Ambuehl's introductory statement was brief, rival Paul Morrison, who has served on the city's budget committee and formerly sat on the board of directors for the Ibach Citizen Involvement Organization, took several minutes to talk about his background and lay out his reasons for running.

“The decision to run for council was not made lightly,” Morrison said. “There are many factors to include, including the amount of time required to successfully represent the residents. One factor, though, was the opportunity to work with many talented individuals and professionals.”

Kellogg said his reason for running is simple.

“For about four or five years, I've participated in the discussion, and the decisions haven't always gone my way or the way of my constituency,” he said. “So I'm running now to participate in the decision.”

As the only incumbent seeking re-election to the Tualatin City Council this year, Davis said, “There's a lot of things that have happened between when I first got on council and today. I have worked on so many different things. … I'm so proud of what our city's done, and I hope that other cities can use what we've done as a model.”

In the legislative race, Southwick said he is running for House District 37 — which includes the Tualatin and West Linn areas — because of his family, particularly his mother.

“My mom stayed home to raise us,” Southwick said. “My parents divorced later in life, and my mom found herself out on her own in the workforce. … So for her, not having a college degree, being an older worker, being out of the workforce, there have been a lot of challenges. So I really want to make sure that we help people not only get into college but finish college, get into living-wage jobs, and then deal with the issue of affordable housing.”

Parrish, who has been serving in the Oregon House of Representatives since 2011, touted her constituent service. She has never denied anyone a meeting and she reads and answers her own emails, she said.

“I would be lying if I said, with over 40,000 voters, that you will all agree with me on every single vote every single time. That would just make me a liar, and I'm not willing to do that,” said Parrish, one of the only Republican lawmakers in Oregon to represent a district where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans. “But my door is always open to you.”

Parrish said she is running because “there's a lot of work that still needs to be done” in Salem.

By Mark Miller
Assistant Editor
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