Yet another non-partisan contender is in the running for the East Lane County Commissioner position currently held by Faye Stewart. Jack Schoolcraft will also be facing Jose Ortal, Joann Ernst and Kevin Matthews in the May 2014 primary.
Schoolcraft, a Eugene native, has no previous political experience and is not currently associated with any activist groups. Currently, he sews footbags (aka Hacky Sacks), writes novels and takes care of his son. He graduated from the UO and also attended LCC and Sheldon High School. Before college, he joined the military during the Vietnam War as his own protest.
“I wanted to make changes from within,” he says, rather than take part in the protests at home.
In Lane County, he hopes to also be given the opportunity to make changes from within.
“We need to focus locally and get our head above water,” Schoolcraft says.
Within the Lane County government, Schoolcraft would like to see a salary cap, and more “hiring from within” for upper level positions, rather than bringing in “people who already make $150,000 and then get raises. They just pull crap like [Liane] Richardson.”
Schoolcraft would also like to explore alternative options to contentious local issues, such as the mining of Parvin Butte.
“Why aren’t we mining silt out of the dams?” Schoolcraft asks, explaining the benefit to farmers as soil and cutting down on the impact of big mining operations. He would also like to see “our mills back up” and an end to raw log exports.
“I just want to do what the people want,” Schoolcraft says, expanding on his own frustration with the current government “not listening.”
Schoolcraft also has ideas on public safety funding, such as a 1 percent tax on every for-profit business in Eugene as a way to supplement public safety. He also says he would like to see urban development projects brought out in the open. Schoolcraft has said if he wins, he would give half of his first year’s salary to the public safety budget, and would “encourage others to do the same.”
Schoolcraft, who describes himself as “just barely” a Democrat and fiscally conservative, has not yet reported raising any funds for his campaign.
Outside of the political realm, Schoolcraft gained fame in the 1980s for competitive footbag and has been called “the godfather of freestyle” in the sport. He was inducted into the Footbag Hall of Fame in 1997.
More than anything, Schoolcraft says he wants to make the government a more approachable and open part of the community.
“People should not fear their government; government should fear the people,” Schoolcraft says.