May the Fourth be with the candidates who truly care about civics and education

May 4 is Star Wars Day (and if you don’t know what we mean, it’s May the Fourth, get it?), and that’s the day you will have your ballot in one hand and your copy of Eugene Weekly’s election endorsements in the other. It’s less like having a lightsaber and more like trying to use an amorphous force — known as democratic elections — to manifest change.

We spend hours interviewing candidates for stories and endorsement, researching them and attending forums all over the county and cities from Eugene City Club to Springfield Chamber of Commerce. We are small and fierce, but we can’t interview everyone in every race — yet we do try to interview every candidate who asks us to. If we didn’t endorse in a race, it’s because we didn’t feel like we had enough information. If we did endorse and put the candidate’s name in bold, then read what we think and make up your own mind! 

Please check out our stories and interviews with candidates in print and at EugeneWeekly.com, tagged Election 2023. And if you want to join your fellow citizens and weigh in, mail what you think to Letters@EugeneWeekly.com.

Eugene City Council

Ward 7 two year term

Lyndsie Leech
Barbie Walker
Janet Ayres

Lyndsie Leech by a landslide. If we had to lose a good city councilor like Claire Syrett to a baseless recall, let’s at least replace her with a thoughtful candidate. Janet Ayres is backed by the anti-mass transit NIMBY crowd, and Barbie Walker didn’t seem to have thought through her positions, but based on her $2,000 payment to failed right-wing nut job congressional candidate Alek Skarlatos’s campaign manager, she’s not a great match for an area that includes the Whiteaker and River Road. 

Leech, in contrast, has pondered her positions on everything from policing to homelessness to mental health — specifically figuring out ways for the city to implement mental health-related policies in the community. Leech has a solid background of volunteer and paid work for progressive nonprofits, from the FOOD For Lane County Grassroots Garden to the Territorial Parent Association and WellMama, Inc., for which she is now executive director. She’s a good fit.

Lane Measure No: 20-340

 Yes. Renewal of jail and youth services five-year levy

In the past we have suggested both no and yes votes on this levy. On the surface, defunding the jail seems like the way to go. But history reminds us that Ronald Reagan’s reduction of federal spending on mental hospitals sent people back to the states, which didn’t take care of them, either. The jail has become a defacto mental health institution, and it shouldn’t be, but sending folks back to the streets and not holding folks with violent felony offenses doesn’t work, either. This levy is a five-year renewal of the one that’s been in place for a decade. It’s an ongoing stop gap, and we need to get going on a better way of dealing with crime and mental health, but until that’s in place, we’re going to say yes on the renewal. 

City of Eugene Measure No: 20-343 

Yes. Five-Year parks and recreation operations and maintenance local option levy

Parks, open space and recreation are dear to our hearts. We’ll take this bully pulpit to remind the city that we’d like to see the money spent on the parks — not on evicting unhoused campers with no place to go.

Willamalane Park & Recreation District 

Directors (Vote for three) 

Chris Wig
Johnny A. Lake
Kiersten Muenchinger
Cj Mann
Greg James
Angela Miceli Stout 

Chris Wig and Johnny Lake are both solid progressive incumbents on the board; aspiring newcomer Kiersten Muenchinger, a design engineer who has worked with Walt Disney Imagineering, heads the Department of Product Design at the University of Oregon and might bring an interesting perspective to Willamalane.

Lane Community College

Zone 1 two year term

Denise Diamond

Zone 2

Zach Mulholland
Nick Skelton
Rich Cunningham

Zone 5 

Steve Mital (unopposed)


Kevin Alltucker. Photo by Todd Cooper.

Position 6 at large

Kevin Alltucker
Bob Baldwin

This is a race with two solid candidates. Both are LCC grads and care deeply about the school. Alltucker has a strong background in working on issues affecting formerly incarcerated people and Baldwin has a strong union backing and background. Honestly, you can’t really go wrong with either, but Alltucker got our nod for what we see as an ability to understand Lane County’s many political sides, and come out on the side of the students and education.

Position 7 at large

Lisa Fragala
Kyle Reallon

Bethel School District #52

Position 3 

Curt Nordling
Leena Earnest
Greg C. Nelson

Position 4 

Daniel (Drae) Charles
Erin Basinger

Director Position 6 

Robin W. Zygaitis
Scott Chatham

Creswell School District #40 

Position 1

Kandice A. Lemhouse Worsham (unopposed)

Position 2 

Ronald Colletti
Sarah Cox

Position 3

Margaret Michele Colletti
Debi Wilkerson

Position 7

Mary Stayton (unopposed)

Creswell School District #40 Measure No: 20-342

Yes. Bonds to repair/update schools, access vocational training; improve safety

Crow-Applegate-Lorane School

Position 1 

Doug Perry
Karen Bodner

Position 2

David A. Fowler (unopposed)

Eugene School District #4J


Tom DiLiberto. Courtesy photo.

Position 1 

Tom Di Liberto
Michael Bratland
Juan Carlos Valle (withdrew)

Tom Di Liberto is a quiet, unassuming longtime educator. Michael Bratland is a dentist who sponsored a Back the Blue billboard with former TV news personality-turned-conspiracy theorist Rick Dancer, and who is endorsed by the anti-LGBTQIA+ Kids 4 Success PAC. Di Liberto it is.


Rick Hamilton. Photo by Todd Cooper.

Position 4 

Rick Hamilton
Gordon Lafer

Retired Oregon State Police Trooper Rick Hamilton gets our surprise support to join the 4J school board. More than three decades in the front ranks of law enforcement has left him not only without a shred of bitterness but with a deep understanding of and sympathy for people facing challenges from mental illness to poverty and homelessness. A recent mental health tragedy in his own family gives him even deeper insight into institutional failures of our society, particularly to African Americans such as himself. Hamilton’s friendly, solid demeanor should be a calming and unifying influence on the fractured board, whose meetings have sunk into embarrassing chaos over the past two years. 


Jenny Jonak. Photo by Todd Cooper.

Position 5 

Jenny Jonak
Grant Johnson

Jenny Jonak is a lawyer, a Korean American mother of a special needs daughter and is someone with an outstanding record of service that includes such wide-ranging organizations as the Lane County Bar Association’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee and the Friends of the Eugene Public Library. She lives just far enough outside town to bring a rural perspective to this largely urban school district. 


Morgan H. Munro. Photo by Todd Cooper.

Position 7

Morgan H. Munro
Timothy Sean Sutherland

Ask Morgan Munro a question about schools and she pops up with an answer. Her answers are well researched, based on actual facts and thoughtfully articulated. The Eugene School Board could use a dose of her graceful wonkishness as it tries to deal with such problems as student mental health and suicide, teacher burnout, campus security amid the 2nd Amendment plague, and the deep dysfunction that is paralyzing the board itself (and, yes, she has a plan for that). Vote her in.

Fern Ridge School District #28J

Position 1 

Jacqueline Turle
Kathleen Pizzola

Position 5

Lorrie Daniels
Lisa (Miss Lisa) McCann

Junction City School District #69

Position 1 

Ryan Ceniga (unopposed)

We checked, and since the Junction City School Board is not a “lucrative” elected position, Ryan Ceniga can indeed run again for school board while on the Lane County Board of County Commissioners. Since we haven’t been blown away by the current county board’s voting against female leadership, we’re definitely not endorsing Ceniga to continue his position in public education. 

Position 2  two year term

Alaire Fajardo
Jim Anderson

Position 4 

Daniel Allred
Jesse C. Springer

Position 7 

Wendy Waddell (unopposed)

 McKenzie School District #68

Position 1 

Danna Brownell
Taya Brock

Position 2 two year term

Sarah Mackenzie
Kail Harbick

Position 3 

Alyssa Brownlee
Max Metcalfe

Position 5

Justin Barker
Jason Wickizer

Oakridge School District #76

Position 1

August Reed
Maggie Curtis

Position 4

Ken Wright
Jeri A. Reed
Jayme Martin

Siuslaw School District #97J

Position 1 

Devon Weinstein
Brian Lacouture

Position 3

Robert Sneddon
Tamara Cole

Position 5 

Josh Haberly
Frank Armendariz

Position 7

Jason Wood
Dianna Pimlott

South Lane School District #45J3

Position 1 

Tammy Hodgkinson (unopposed)

Position 3 

Dustin Bengtson
Martha Allen
Duane Taddei

Position 6  

Joe Tucker (unopposed)

Position 7 

Gary Mort
Tina Murphy

Springfield School District #19

Position 1 

Ken Kohl
Geena Davis
Violet Olszyk
Heather Quaas-Annsa

Position 4

Anthony Reed
Nicole De Graff