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Klamath County Republicans

Klamath County
Republican Party

Name: Derek Degroot

Position:  Klamath County Commissioner Position 3

2016 Candidate Survey
1.  How long have you lived in Klamath County?

I was born in Klamath Falls and aside from my time serving in the US Navy, I have lived here all of my life.  This is my home and I love it here.

2.  What is your current occupation? I am a mortgage broker at All Seasons Mortgage and have worked here for over 15 years.  I love working here and work for amazing people, but our community is in need of new leadership and I believe I am the best person for the job.
3.  Are you employed elsewhere?  If so, do you plan on leaving your current job if elected?

I plan on maintaining my license so I have a career to come back to after I have served our community and will continue to help my friends and family with their mortgage needs, but my primary focus will be the County and my work at the mortgage company will be limited to after hours or my free time.  Once I am elected, the needs of the community will determine where I spend my time, as that will be my first priority and commitment. 

4. Family:  Married, single, children, etc.?

I am married to the love of my life and we will be married 19 years this August.  My wife is a Special Education Teacher with the Klamath County School District.  We have been blessed with three amazing children ages 17, 15 and 12.

5. Have you ever been involved with a political party or organization while in Klamath County?  If so, in what capacity? I am a registered Republican but have not been active in Party politics. My focus has been on earning a living and raising my children.   I now see this as the right time for me to get involved and help shape Klamath into a place my children will be able to come home to and raise families of their own and provide for their family.  
6. Are you involved with any local organizations (clubs, churches, sporting teams, etc)?

I am a past Deacon of The First Church of God, past president of Basin United Soccer Club and current Director for the Southern Oregon Region for the Oregon Youth Soccer Association.  I have been actively involved in coaching youth soccer in Klamath for over 14 years.

7. What do you see as the most important issue facing Klamath County at this time?

Our Economy

8. How would you address this issue?

The image of our county begins with our leadership and our elected officials setting the proper tone.  We must eliminate the current perception that Klamath is not business friendly.  Presenting a unified, close-nit community is a powerful image when trying to attract new business investments to the area.

9. What is your philosophy on tax increases, bond measures, etc.? 

I am a fiscal Conservative and do not believe in large government or tax increases.  However, from time to time the citizens of any community need to be asked what level of services they want and can afford.  A ballot is the way to go about that, as we are a government of, by, and for the people. It's their government, and their choice.

10. What do you believe the role of local government is?

The primary responsibility of any government, whether local, state or federal is the safety of it’s citizens.

11. What do you see as the function of a county commissioner?

The primary function of any leader is to inspire and draw the best out of the citizens within the community they serve.  I believe we lack that in our County and I will work to change that my first day in office.

12. Regarding jobs or new businesses – how to you intend to “attract” new business to the Basin?

Again, I believe that perception is everything.  I understand that sound decisions are made by logical business people, however I also know that the emotional reaction to an area plays a big part in a person’s decision to invest their time and money into a community. So attracting new businesses begins with making us more attractive to ourselves.

13. It has been said by some businesses who have looked to expand into the basin, that there is not a sufficient or qualified labor force to support them.  How would you address this issue?

Our community, despite current leadership has begun this process through a program called Klamath Works.  A program designed to give people a “hand up” rather than a hand out.  I believe it is the responsibility of our County Commissioners to Champion these efforts and motivate more of our citizens to get involved in efforts like this.

14. It has been said by some retail businesses looking to expand that there is not the population or enough potential spend in the basin to support another retail shop.  How would you address this issue?

Frankly, I disagree.  Home Depot hires relocation and expansion experts in the site evaluation team, they determined we had the population within our service area, and invested millions. We are now home to one of their most profitable locations. However a strong economic development push would help to change this perception and bring more dollars into our community.  Hundreds of millions of dollars leave our community every year.  We must work harder to give the citizens the option to keep those dollars here.

15. Would you allow any bond measures or tax levies to be put on the ballot without meeting the required petition signatures?  If so, what kind of measures would qualify for this?

Very few.  I will not take a position of absolutes on this issue but I would need to be convinced that it was the proper decision based on the needs of our County, and the merits of the issue, once presented.

16. We know that the voters in the state of Oregon voted to legalize marijuana.  What do you think about marijuana?  Is it something that should be legalized for recreational use? For medicinal purposes?  Should there be any regulations on it?

Marijuana is a drug and yes it should be regulated.  However, this issue is back on the Ballot for this May and based on the previous statewide vote, I do not believe that it will pass in our County.  If I am wrong then the will of the people must be adhered to, however we would need to be responsible in how we regulate the sales and use in our community. Again, we are a government of, by, and for the people.

17. Recently there was a protest in Malheur County over federally controlled land. Currently the federal government controls around 59% of property in Klamath County.  What is your position regarding federal government controlling state and county lands?

I would like to see the lands managed by the County.

18. Do you agree with the dam removals?

In broad strokes I do not believe in the elimination of any infrastructure, however I also am a firm believer in personal property rights and the dams belong to a private company and they are theirs to do with as they choose.

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