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Election 2022: Lebanon Mayoral Candidates

Lebanon Mayoral Candidates

 

Kenneth E. Jackola, 54

Years in Lebanon: 51
Education: Oregon State University: Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Sciences (2013); U.S. Army NCO Leadership Center of Excellence: Sergeant Major Academy (2009); Linn Benton Community College: Reserve Police Academy (1993); Lebanon Union High School: Class of 1986.
Professional Background/Work Experience: United States Military – U.S. Army and Oregon Army National Guard (Retired 2014 as Command Sergeant Major); Small business owner – transportation;
Lebanon commercial building owner; Law enforcement.
Political Experience/Affiliations: None/unaffiliated candidate
Other Community Involvement/Affiliations: Board Member: Lebanon Downtown Association 2019-20; Lebanon High School Hall of Fame: Inductee 2016; 82nd Airborne Division Association: Lifetime Member.
Family: Youngest son of John (1940-2003) and Norma Jackola (1939-1996) who resided in the Lebanon area from 1971-2003. Married to Shellie Jackola, with five adult children: Ashton Trulock, Johnathon Jackola, Conan Jackola, Thomas Mason Ward and Rachel Jackola.
Contact: [email protected]

Gamael ‘Mr. G’ Nassar, 56

Years in Lebanon: 5
Education: Master’s degree in organizational development and project management; bachelor’s degree in business administration.
Professional Background/Work Experience: With wife Jenny, operates insurance offices in Lebanon and Albany. Previous experience with multiple government/public agencies, private nonprofits and colleges/universities, including U.S. Department of Commerce – Census Bureau, The Homeless Trust, Christian Community Services Agency, the Florida Association of Nonprofit Organizations, Florida Atlantic University, Miami-Dade Community College, the Miami-Dade County Public Schools, and multiple committees for the United Way of Miami-Dade County. For more details visit mrgformayor.com.
Political Experience/Affiliations: Present Lebanon City Council member. Over course of career in leadership development, social services, and non-profit management, has worked with wide variety of government entities in Florida, providing “valuable information, data, research, and community input.”
Other Community Involvement/Affiliations: Lebanon Chamber of Commerce ambassador; board member, Lebanon Downtown Association; board president, Enliven Foundation; board member, Strawberry Festival Association; board member, United Way of Linn, Benton and Lincoln Counties; board member, Samaritan Community Hospital Foundation; board member, Community Health Centers – Linn and Benton County; NAACP member; facilitator for Albany Chamber of Commerce.
Family: Wife Jenny, four children, two “pseudo-adopted” daughters, two grandchildren. Family cares for their aging parents, who live in community.
Contact: (541) 570-3964

Question/Answer

Why do you want to be Lebanon’s mayor?

Ken Jackola: In recent years, government has evolved into an institution in which polarization is practiced with regularity. In Lebanon, our community has witnessed this trend occur on occasion. I want to provide leadership which listens, respects and provides a stable foundation for the citizens of Lebanon providing opportunity so that they can realize their dreams. While we will not always agree on all the issues, I will listen to all viewpoints and will take them into account during our decision making process. In short, I will provide strong and proven leadership which will carry our community many years into the future.

“Mr. G” Nassar: Because I love this town and the community. I love the people and residents of this community. I love our small businesses, our larger industries, and our family neighborhoods. I love what previous community leaders, the council and Mayor Aziz have accomplished. I want to be a part of a community that strives for excellence through strategic engagement, actions, endeavors and accomplishments. Years from now, community residents, leaders, activists, city staff, elders, volunteers, voters, and even vocals, will look back and be proud of what we as a team and a community have accomplished. That is my why (emphasis).

Please describe your view of the proper role of government and how your philosophy of government would impact how you carry out your responsibilities in leading the city. What would you consider your primary responsibility/ies to voters as mayor if you are elected?

“Mr. G” Nassar: My view of the role for the position of mayor is such that (1) A mayor must be a good leader; one with vision that can inspire and motivate others to move from apathy to action; (2) That can anticipate the positive and negative results of future decisions and actions while respecting all; (3) Gracefully dealing with differing viewpoints while considering the many facets of complicated issues; (4) Is transparent, accountable, delivers results, and communicates well even when dealing with difficult situations; (5) One that will work tirelessly to ensure exceptional city services, ensuring a high quality of life for all of Lebanon’s family-friendly community. Lebanon’s mayor should be a leader for the entire community. Not conservative or liberal – Not party but People, not agendas but family & community focused. As a representative and ambassador of the “City That Friendliness Built,” I will always strive to remain accessible, approachable and responsive to all Lebanon Residents. I will work tirelessly to ensure that we stay dedicated to providing exceptional services that enhance the quality of life for all present and future members of the community. I will stay focused with purposeful dedication towards ensuring continuous improvement, scalability and sustainability of Lebanon’s family-friendly community. I will focus on crime-free neighborhoods, balanced housing, remaining business-friendly, improving infrastructure, tourism, unity and general livability.

Ken Jackola: The proper role of government is to provide a strong and stable foundation in which citizens possess the ability to practice their family’s belief systems without fear of prosecution. This foundation is built with the blocks of safety, security, trust, and transparency and based in the founding ideas outlined in the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence. It is not the role of government to advocate one belief system over another but to protect the rights of all individuals desiring to realize their dreams. With this philosophy, I will ensure these building blocks are rebuilt, implemented, and most importantly “protected.” Our government’s role is not to be an advocacy group attempting to push decisive issues onto a population in attempt to change a community’s fabric. It must be a government which protects and respects everyone’s beliefs, even the ones you disagree with.

How do you think the city is doing in managing its growth and the challenges that come with that? If elected, what changes, if any, would you support?

Ken Jackola: Management of a city’s growth is an aspect I take very seriously. Unmanaged growth leads to many unforeseen issues such as strained infrastructure, school shortages, and unstaffed departments. We must balance community growth with the city support structures so we do not experience undue hardship to our tax base. Community growth should not be viewed in a negative light but should be embraced, studied, and managed so we grow in the right direction. Understanding everyone’s definition of community growth varies; our community must (emphasis) be involved in this decision making process. Attending city council meeting and volunteerism within our community is vital for your voice to be heard as it pertains to our future growth.

“Mr. G” Nassar: As more land becomes available throughout the completion of existing infrastructure projects, we will work with property owners and developers to build a balanced housing inventory, from affordable lower-income homes to higher-end family level living. A balanced housing landscape will greatly allow Lebanon the opportunity businesses need to thrive and stay open, and help ensure increased gainful employment opportunities for our residents. I would like to see a community with a robust economy, a community with a growing housing inventory that provides everyone housing opportunities best suited to their needs, and a community that finds reasons for tourists to stop and stay and spend money in our city.

A lot of city government revolves around funding – budgets and taxation. In general, how do you view the city’s performance in these areas? If you would change anything, how would you do so?

“Mr. G” Nassar: I have created and managed budgets for many small to large organizations. My educational background includes a master’s degree in Organizational Development and Project Management, and much of my career revolved around successfully managing multi-faceted internal finances. Nevertheless, there is a Budget Committee in place to review the proposed annual budget that then moves to the City Council for approval with any changes recommended. No matter the experiences of any one council member or mayor, budgets are developed and approved as a team with multiple views and reviews. The key is to work as a team and a community that together moves our city in the manner, fashion, and direction we wish to see.

Ken Jackola: As I look through the city’s budget, I find it to be very comparable to other Oregon cities of similar size. The aspect I do find large disparities with our counterparts across the state is in the amount of long-term debt we are currently carrying and servicing. This debt affects our ability to invest in future improvements such as infrastructure, policing requirements, and many other aspects needed for responsible community growth. This aspect of the budget is my #1 priority. I will research all avenues to alleviate this debt load as quickly as possible so that we can move forward on a solid foundation.

How well do you think the city has done to encourage economic growth in Lebanon? If elected, would you do anything different and what would that be?

Ken Jackola: I believe Lebanon has performed above average, but there is always room for improvements. As mayor, I will work with the general public, community leaders, city directors, and any other group in identifying, analyzing, and inviting economic partners to our community. It is my direct responsibility in finding opportunity for our great community, and as stated earlier, so that you can realize your dreams.

“Mr. G” Nassar: Lebanon is already a business-friendly town bustling with opportunity as evident by all the new businesses that want to open here. I am a strong proponent of economic development, but will strive for balanced industry growth with a vision for community employment opportunities, greater living wages and for the future development of our economy. This includes actively recruiting and creating relationships with various industries looking for a home, including small to large businesses prepared to provide much needed opportunities for local residents to find gainful employment and real living wages in the community.

Recently, the practice of issuing proclamations has generated some controversy in the public arena in Lebanon. What’s your view of the importance/lack thereof of city proclamations in the political life of the city and what would be your approach to doing so/not doing so?

“Mr. G” Nassar: Proclamations are official declarations issued by mayors for historical, cultural and civic celebrations or events, that may also recognize a special day, week or month. They are of great importance to the individuals and organizations that request them. I will resume providing proclamation, but will issue them with greater ceremonial importance than before; in person with pictures taken as an example. Council members may participate in the proclamation reading and depending on importance, may even be involved in the decision making process. They belong to the community and should not belong to one individual.

Ken Jackola: I am a proponent of a family’s right to self-determination. Developing their own belief system and guiding principles, as long as it does not violate other people’s constitution and civil rights, is the right of every American. It seems proclamations have become a political tool in an attempt at destroying this fundamental right. It is not government’s duty to force individuals to believe a certain way. As we observed in this case, the proclamation divided our community. So, did the proclamation benefit our community or not? I venture to say “no” because of the division, name calling and circumventing of our elected officials. Because our community is very diverse in core values, our city government should not be using the Mayor’s Office and the City Council to advocate one belief system over another. Instead, we should be providing a solid foundation (safety, secure, trust, & transparency) for you to build your life. With this said, I will always listen to every person who comes before the council, but I will not be using the practice of proclamations.

In addition to any of the issues already touched on, what do you consider the biggest challenge(s) facing Lebanon? As briefly as possible, how would you address it/those?

Ken Jackola: Did not respond.

“Mr. G” Nassar: Challenges include housing shortages, city budgetary shortages, a lack of tourism that does not help keep our local businesses open, infrastructure issues, shortages in city staffing, homelessness, are at the top of my list. The reality is that all challenges are not easily solved, and the mayor and City Council cannot repair issues of importance overnight. A really important point to mention is that Lebanon is not broken by any means. Our town is growing and possibly set to become a crown jewel in this part of the valley. With that said, we face similar issues that all small towns face, especially those in close proximity. Some of these issues are fluctuating and move up or down the scale of importance and others are lingering situations that need long term solutions that require work and dedication to improve. What I can (emphasis) promise is to continue what has already begun. Many seeds planted years ago have grown and our town is ready to reap what was sown. We will continue conversations with higher-level officials, as well as neighboring municipalities, to share resources and create solutions together instead of facing some of these issues alone and by ourselves. We will continue to execute steps towards completing our 2040 Vision goals sooner rather then later. Our community is filled with families that want to live in a strong, healthy, diverse community and we are willing to work towards that success with committed effective leadership.

Why should voters consider electing you? How would you make a difference for Lebanon?

“Mr. G” Nassar: I have strong faith both in my spiritual beliefs and in our community. I have the passion to work hard on behalf of our community, and have already been doing it. I encompass the experience required and I will do it with intelligence, strength and grace. We will focus on the 2040 Vision Goals with additional efforts in developing municipal partnerships to assist us in successful and efficient goal completion. On council the goal is to increase outgoing communication and transparency, encourage a balanced housing inventory, support park usage to maximum efficiency, develop tourism opportunities for our economy to grow, flourish, and stay open, and provide careful watch on city budgets, taxes, and services, while searching for additional funding opportunities.

Ken Jackola: Did not respond.