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Hearing enters race for North Bend's mayor

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NORTH BEND - Planning Commission member and business owner Ken Hearing has thrown his hat into the ring becoming the city's third candidate for the soon-to-be vacant mayor post.

Hearing joins City Councilman Ed Carlson and former fire chief Jerry Venera in the race for the position to be left vacant by Mayor Joan Simpson this fall. Simpson, the city's first female mayor, announced earlier this year that she will not seek a third term.

Although he had been considering running for an elected position for a number of years, Hearing said that with a major change in the city's leadership imminent, it was time to run.

"I think I can help shape the community in a positive direction," said Hearing.

Hearing, a longtime Valley resident who's father, Gordon Hearing, served as a council member in the late '50s and early '60s, said the North Bend city government hasn't fully lived up to its responsibility of listening to the needs and desires of the community. He said there are a number of issues he could cite as examples, but the biggest was last year's resident-led campaign to gain the power of referendum.

"Bureaucracy tends to forget who works for who and I'd like to see that changed," said Hearing.

With two council members stepping down next month due to a move out of the area, in addition to Carlson relinquishing his council spot by stepping into the mayor's race and the likelihood of adding two new council positions next year, Hearing admits that leading a group with only two veteran members will be difficult.

"It's going to be tough for anybody," said Hearing.

Although the task will be difficult, Hearing feels that he's got all the qualifications to lead the city into a new era. With more than 12 years of experience running a business, Scott's Dairy Freeze, in the area and almost five years on the Planning Commission, he's familiar with the issues facing the city. There's also at least one personality trait that Hearing feels will make him a good leader.

"I like to listen to people," said Hearing. "You'll hear less of me than most people."

For the complete story, pick up a copy of this week's Valley Record

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