Jackson County has a new county commissioner.
Vicki Greene, a longtime community planner and retired assistant director of the Southwestern Development Commission, clinched the Democratic nomination, which makes her a shoe-in for the Board of Commissioners as there is no Republican opposition running for the seat in November’s general election.
Greene will take the seat on the board currently held by Commissioner Joe Cowan, who decided not to seek re-election.
Stacy Buchanan, a former Jackson County commissioner, ran against Greene in the primary, but Greene walked away from the race with 60 percent of the vote.
“I look forward to working with all the folks of Jackson County to make this the best possible Jackson,” Greene said.
For three decades, Greene has worked as a resource for local governments and community leaders in the seven western counties. She is skilled in the art of consensus building and translating brainstorming sessions into tangible results
“Good communication is more about listening than talking,” Greene said. “For somebody to win, somebody else doesn’t have to lose.”
Another “Greene-ism” she tries to live by — “Do I want to be right or do I want to do right?” — is one she didn’t learn until she was about 50.
Greene’s top priority as a commissioner and biggest challenge facing the county is economic development. To say that Jackson County has not been proactive on the economic development stage is an understatement.
“When the unemployment rate was only 4 or 5 percent seven years ago, it was not as obvious that Jackson County needed a strong economic development strategy,” Greene said.
But, unemployment is now at 11 percent.
Greene said she wants to ensure that Jackson County continues progressive approach to managing growth and development, which includes strong subdivision and steep slope ordinances to protect the quality of life in Jackson County. She does not believe development regulations hamper growth and development.
“It is about seeking balance between the two,” Greene said.
There is a chance an unaffiliated candidate will try to get on the ballot for the November election, but to do so, a candidate would have to gather approximately 1,400 signatures.