I have asked all six Umatilla County commissioner candidates to state their position very simply. Are you pro-life or pro-choice? I sent this question to the email address they supplied on their official filing form. None of the emails bounced back. I found the replies an effective method of exposing what kind of politician these men could be.
My motivation is I support pro-life candidates. I do not belong to a political party but have jumped in them to support pro-life candidates, most recently Bill Hansell. Below is a brief synopsis of what I have found out about these candidates.
Jack Esp: pro-life, no exceptions. Mr. Esp scored 100 percent in support of life issues by the Oregon Right to Life PAC in the 2012 election cycle while a candidate for State House District 58.
George Murdock: Questioned what it mattered in a county commissioner race, but identified himself as pro-choice. He replied, After spending more than four decades in public education, Im frustrated with the idea we need to bring every child into the world, but feel little obligation to support them once they are born.
Jerry Baker: Identified himself as pro-choice but preferred adoption to abortion.
Terry Fife: Suggested that this was a national issue, not a county issue, and that all the money spent on pregnancy services was federally mandated. He conceded that abortion is a terrible thing but said he was neither pro-life nor pro-choice.
Michael Cannon: Responded three weeks after I emailed him the question that he was pro-life but also felt it was not a county issue.
Tom Bailor never responded.
Voters should be concerned about the candidates (Murdock, Fife, and Cannon) that claim life issues are not something that a county commissioner would influence. Umatilla Countys website would suggest otherwise.
Murdocks cavalier approach is like saying poor children would be better off not being born. Fife did not seem to have a good grasp of the county health department at all. Esp and Baker answered the question directly and I respect that in a candidate.
I am going to vote for Jack L. Esp for commissioner. He is an experienced executive, knowledgeable about healthcare, a financial expert, and takes a common sense approach to issues. I have met with Mr. Esp since he identified himself pro-life. I believe he would be an advocate for the all the citizens of Umatilla County.