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Mallams: Election win sends message
Republican nominee is opponent of KBRA
By SAMANTHA TIPLER, Herald and News 5/17/12
The Republican who ousted longtime Klamath County commissioner Al Switzer said his win in Tuesday’s primary election sends a clear message: Voters do not agree with the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement.
Tom Mallams, a Beatty-area rancher and outspoken opponent of the KBRA, bested Switzer in Tuesday’s primary election, taking 43 percent of the vote in a four-way race.
He faces Democrat Ted Lindow, a former county commissioner who now runs a construction consulting firm, in the November general election.
Lindow did not return calls Wednesday from the Herald and News.
Mallams, who was backed by Tea Party members and KBRA opponents, said he has been asked if he would rescind Klamath County’s endorsement of the KBRA his first day in office. Switzer was a proponent of the agreement.
His answer: “Probably not.”
But he thinks Oregon’s federal lawmakers will get the message that voters do not like the KBRA and the agreement will be dead before a new commissioner takes office.
“I don’t think I’ll have to make a decision on that come Jan. 1,” he said. “I think it may already be decided as dead on arrival and something in history. If it’s still alive we will address it very shortly.”
The KBRA is a controversial water settlement that aims to establish affordable power rates and sustainable water supplies for irrigators, restore fish habitat, and help the Klamath Tribes acquire a 92,000-acre tree farm in northern Klamath County. A related agreement would remove four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River.
If elected, Mallams said he would change the way commissioners oversee county departments, known as the liaison system.
He would want the duties to rotate regularly so all commissioners are more familiar with what is going on in county government.
Mallams said he also would communicate with department heads to find the best ways to save money.
He credited his win in Tuesday’s primary to running a clean campaign, something he said his Republican opponents, or their supporters, did not do.
“I think that backfired on the other side completely,” he said.
Mallams said he and his supporters spent time making phone calls, meeting with voters and knocking on doors.
“I even bruised my arch. I couldn’t walk for three to four days. I couldn’t put my boots on,” Mallams said with a chuckle. “We had 1,000 door hangers and got 800 put out in two and a half days.”
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Page Updated: Friday May 18, 2012 12:49 AM Pacific
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