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Newly elected look ahead to new terms
by SAMANTHA TIPLER, Herald and News 1/8/13

Tom Mallams was nearly moved to tears after he took his oath of office, officially becoming a Klamath County commissioner Monday morning.

He brought his own Bible to the swearing-in ceremony, and said afterward he had fought to have “so help me God” added back to the end of the oath. “This is the Bible that was given to me by my parents,” he said, pausing for a moment to compose himself. “I am so glad that the ‘so help you God’ was put back into that oath.”

Like other officials Monday, Mallams was excited to start his new role in local government.

“I am very, very proud to be able to represent Klamath County and be able to be a voice for the county,” he said, “and to do things that need to be done here, to stand up for what is right and oppose what is wrong.”

Mallams was one of the six officials elected in 2012 who was sworn in Monday morning. Others included Jim Bellet as commissioner, Frank Skrah as sheriff, Leonard Hill as assessor, Jason Link as treasurer and Mike Markus as surveyor. The official ceremony lasted just 10 minutes, but enough people came to pack the commissioners’ hearing room and the hallway outside.

Mallams’ oath was not without humor. Recovering from shoulder surgery, he had to lift his left hand to give the oath instead of his right, which hung in a sling.

“People have asked me more times than I can remember what has happened,” he said. “My answer is Klamath County politics is pretty brutal.”

With two new commissioners, Bellet said he expects a steep learning curve.

“I’ll get my keys to the office and go from there,” Bellet said after the ceremony. “It’ll take a while before I’m squared away.”

Mallams said he was “chomping at the bit” to get started in his new job.

Everyone thanked the citizens for their votes.

“I am looking forward to representing all the citizens of Klamath County,” Bellet said to the crowd after taking his oath. “It is a tremendous change in my life from private industry to elected official but I am going to do the best that I can and I appreciate all your support.






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