Results are in. Chuck Bennett will be Salem’s next Mayor. Representing Salem as City Councilors will be Cara Kaser in Ward 1, Brad Nanke in Ward 3, Matt Ausec in Ward 5 and Sally Cook in Ward 7.

The candidates that were endorsed by the Salem Chamber, Jan Kailuweit and Warren Bednarz, will continue to be assets to Salem in many ways. If given the opportunity, please thank them for their commitments to Salem. They ran honorable campaigns, and are men of high character. 

Policy making in Salem has been turbulent these past 6 or so months. With the payroll tax measure last November, to hotly contested Mayor and Council races during the 2016 primary…if you pay attention to this space, you’re probably like me and could use some R & R.

Chuck Bennett will make a fine Mayor, of this we are sure. Chuck’s breadth of experience and his willingness to sensibly bridge divides between ideals will be notable and effective. With the outcome of this election cycle, I can’t think of a better person to eliminate divisiveness and keep Salem trending in the right direction. And, my friends, Salem is trending in the right direction.

Beginning about 15 years ago, the local political space in Salem began to trend toward favoring job creators in its processes and policies. That’s 15 years of momentum that has seen a net positive of thousands of jobs, a re-emergence of a vibrant downtown and the shift toward Salem as a destination…not a place that’s “an hour from everything”.

In the late 90’s, I was taking political science classes at Western Oregon University. Among the first lessons I learned was from Dr. Ed Dover, and it was this: politics are a slow moving pendulum. Now Dr. Dover was speaking of policy making at the national level, but the same can be said about local elections as well. It appears as though, for a time, the pendulum is swinging in the other direction.

In the coming handful of years, it’s important we collectively pay attention. While in business, it is entirely too easy to find ourselves in survival mode and keep our heads down. When this is the case, policies or restrictions can be put in place that we encounter when it’s too late to do anything about it. Projects can be halted with a sentence in an agenda. The brakes on this momentum train can slowly bring our local economy to a relative stand still.

The commitment of the Salem Chamber and it’s volunteer Board of Directors and professional staff is to stay ahead of policy shifts while applying intellectual capital to policy making. We will continue to cultivate the economic soil of Salem to make our home the best place in Oregon to start, grow or relocate a business. Regardless of the outcome of an election, we will continue to lead.

Cara Kaser, Brad Nanke, Matt Ausec and Sally Cook will make fine City Councilors, and Chuck Bennett will be an exemplary Mayor. Salem is happening, full speed ahead. 

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