HEPPNER - The Morrow County district attorney and a new County Commissioner officially assumed office Tuesday, however, County Clerk Bobbi Childers presided over the swearing-in ceremony at the Courthouse Wednesday.

Elizabeth Ballard, whom Gov. Ted Kulongoski appointed as district attorney when former DA David Allen resigned in August, officially began her elected term after serving in the position since Sept. 1. Ballard beat opponents Valerie Doherty and John Ballard during the May 16 primary election.

Lexington wheat farmer Ken Grieb prevailed over Loyal Russell Burn Jr. in the primary election. He assumed commissioner position No. 2, replacing Commissioner Ray Grace, who chose not to seek re-election.

Ballard continues to focus on the county's methamphetamine problem and advocating for victim's rights. She said the recent appointment of a member of the Morrow County Sheriff's Office to the Blue Mountain Enforcement Narcotics Team is a positive step to combat the methamphetamine problem.

"It's going well - it's been very busy," Ballard said regarding the past four months in the DA's office.

Ballard previously served as the deputy district attorney for nearly four years. She received her law degree from the University of Oregon.

"I'm just looking forward to the next four years," she said.

Grieb became interested in politics while he served as president of the Oregon Wheat League.

"You can really make a difference," Grieb said about his term as president of the wheat league. "That got me excited about helping people."

Grieb said he considered running for office on a national level with the wheat organization, but decided he wanted to make a difference locally.

"I decided to run for a position that would impact my family, friends and neighbors," he said about his decision to run for county commissioner.

Judge Terry Tallman thinks Grieb will be an asset to Morrow County government.

"He brings an agricultural perspective and with his national involvement with the Oregon Wheat League I think he has a broader perspective than the local farmer." he said. "I think he's going to do a good job for Morrow County.

Grieb, who has lived in Morrow County for 38 years, is also the junior varsity basketball coach at Heppner High School.

"I feel very honored and privileged to serve the citizens of Morrow County and look forward to serving with John (Commissioner Wenholz) and Terry (Judge Tallman)."

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