A retired Navy veteran and U.S. Census worker became the sixth candidate this week to file for the Douglas County commissioner seat vacated by Gary Leif.
Richard Vander Velden filed for the seat Monday. Vander Velden has some government experience, having been elected director of the Sutherlin City Water Control Board in 2017.
He worked for the U.S. Census Bureau from 2008 to 2010, for Fluor Industrial Services from 2002 to 2010, and for the U.S. Navy from 1980 to 2002. He is a graduate of South Umpqua High School and attended Umpqua Community College and Eastern Oregon University, where he studied business, with an emphasis on tourism and leadership, management and organization.
Leif is now the interim representative for state House District 2, and the Republican nominee for the seat in the upcoming November election. His county commissioner replacement will also be chosen in November.
Vander Velden has entered an already crowded field. His competitors for the post include Marine veteran Jeremy Salter, Army National Guard veteran Alek Skarlatos, Army veteran Dan Loomis, Waldron’s Outdoor Sports store owner Tom Kress and marijuana store owner James Hoyt.
Candidates have until Aug. 28 to file. The elected commissioner chosen by the voters in November takes office in January. The current commissioners are also taking applications for an interim commissioner to fill the vacant seat until the elected commissioner takes office.
Vander Velden could not be reached for comment.