Supporters waving American flags at political campaign rally-cm

Often times, candidates running for office make their pitches to voters based on partisan inclinations and considerations.

So how’s that working out for all of us?

I think that campaigns should be based on issues, candidates’ visions and practical considerations. The most important of those is whether or not they support policies that are working as they were intended.

It’s not unusual for particular programs to be created based on political pledges and promises. But the taxpayers who are footing the bill for other peoples’ stated positive intentions deserve to know that the resources devoted to them are actually going where they’re supposed to.

Sometimes those programs do function as they should. When that’s the case, they should be continued, along with the accountability of ensuring that funds allocated for them are being prudently spent.

Other times, programs drift from their originally intended purposes years after they’re implemented. Budgetary needs instead become wants and wish lists. The agencies that were created to carry out those programs appear aimless and adrift, without a clear purpose with which to justify their continued existence.

So should those programs continue, or should our political leaders try to do something else instead? Can they be fixed? Were the problems that lead to their creations solved? Did the taxpayer-funded agencies and programs make the initial problem better or worse? Is there any overlap in function between multiple programs, agencies or departments?

These are the kinds of questions I plan to ask as the next Clackamas County Commissioner from Position 5.

The failure of leaders to ask these kinds of questions, especially during budget processes, can lead to bloated budgets, constant demands for more tax increases and citizens not getting what they paid for. That was certainly the case a few short years ago in Clackamas County. My general election opponent, the incumbent, was present for all of that and was part of the problem.

That’s why I’m taking the approach that I am as I run for commissioner and campaign in the various cities, towns and communities in Clackamas County. I’m hearing firsthand from people who come from all walks of life about how they feel the county is being run and the ways in which it can be better.

I plan to use that input to represent them, and you, and to identify which areas the county government should prioritize. If many residents tell me about the programs and services they appreciate, I’ll be more likely to support those and vote to fund them. If residents have experienced frustration in dealing with some county agencies, I will work to improve the way those services are delivered. If residents question why the county even has some functions, that input will help me reconsider whether or not it’s a necessary use of limited resources.

That, to me, is the best way to ensure that our policies are working.

*If you’d like to find out more about or support the Ben West for Clackamas County Commission campaign, please check out our website at