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Looks like a City Council rematch.

Byline: Edward Russo The Register-Guard

The northwest Eugene City Council race could be a repeat of four years ago.

City Councilor Jennifer Solomon on Wednesday said she will seek election to a second term. Rich Cunningham, who finished a distant second to Solomon in 2002, said he will run against her.

Solomon, a homemaker and volunteer, said it has been a privilege to represent Ward 6 voters, including the Bethel area west of Highway 99.

``Ward 6 voters are family folks, just making a living and wanting to spend time with their families,'' Solomon, 40, said. ``They want good streets, good schools, and they want a safe community. Those are all issues that I have championed in my first term. And I'm not done.''

Solomon said she favors a special citywide assessment on residential and commercial property owners to raise more money for street repairs. ``There are a lot of streets in Ward 6 that have yet to receive the benefits of a good, solid transportation base,'' she said.

Cunningham, 47, said he is a former insurance broker who is disabled because of heart disease.

In their first contest, Solomon received 1,965 votes, or 59.7 percent, compared to 839 for Cunningham, or 25.4 percent. Two other candidates - Frank Wiley and Kurt Thelen - received a combined 487 votes.

Since then, Cunningham has entered, withdrawn from or lost other races for public office.

Cunningham last Friday filed initial paperwork for the City Council seat. He won't become an official candidate until he submits the signatures of 25 registered city voters to election officials. Council candidates must have their applications approved by March 2.

Cunningham on Wednesday said he intends to collect the signatures and become an official can- didate.

Council races are officially nonpartisan, meaning candidates don't have to win a political party's nomination to advance to the fall election. If a candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote in the May primary, he or she would advance alone to the fall general election ballot.

Solomon is a registered Republican. Cunningham is a registered Democrat.

Cunningham said Ward 6 is a "tale of two stories."

Public amenities in the ward's older neighborhoods are falling into disrepair while new developments are "getting all the newer parks and schools," he said.

Solomon "represents the developers' interests," Cunningham said. "In her first campaign, she was backed heavily" by the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce and the Homebuilders Association of Lane County, he said.

Solomon agreed that she wants to see Eugene grow. ``I am in favor of development and continually adding new jobs to our community because if you are not going forward, you are going backward. You can't just stay the same. We need to create jobs for the youth of our community so they stay in our community.''

Cunningham in 2004 filed as a candidate for northwest Eugene's state House District 14. He later withdrew, saying that he was not adequately supported by Democratic Party leadership. Bev Ficek won the Democratic nomination but lost to Republican Debi Farr.

Last May, Cunningham ran for Lane Community College Board in May. He lost to incumbent Paul Holman.

Last September, Cunningham again filed for the House District 14 seat, but later withdrew.

Cunningham said a House race would have required him to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars. A council race would be much less expensive, he said. The council is "more people oriented," Cunningham said.
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Title Annotation:Politics; Jennifer Solomon says she'll run for re-election, and Rich Cunningham plans to challenge again
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Feb 9, 2006
Words:575
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