County commissioner to step down

Gregg Loney cited health reasons when he announced Monday he'll step down April 30.

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WALLA WALLA -- Walla Walla County Commissioner Gregg Loney announced Monday he will resign his seat.

Loney said he plans to resign effective April 30 due to health-related reasons.

Loney has been on the commission since 2005, when he replaced Commissioner Pam Ray in the District 1 seat. He was up for re-election this year.

In a letter, Loney said that "prior to running for office the first time, I had some semi-serious health problems that were caused by stress.

"When I decided to run for office, I made a pledge to my wife and family that if at any time the stress became a potential health concern, I would step down and move on with my life," he wrote.

"As you know, for a variety of reasons, the last couple of years have been very stressful and have taken a toll on us all. After much thought and conversation with my wife and family, I have decided that now is the time to honor that pledge."

Loney said he has "thoroughly enjoyed" his time in office "even during budget times and when making difficult land-use decisions! Although there have been difficult decisions along the way, overall I am proud of the job that we have done together and what we have achieved."

Commission Chairman Greg Tompkins and Commissioner Perry Dozier said Loney's absence on the board will be felt.

"It's a sad day in Walla Walla County," Tompkins said as commissioners met for their afternoon session. "Gregg's been a great partner. The relationship we've forged and the things we've worked for have been tremendous."

Dozier, who was elected in 2008, said Loney "has been a great mentor" in helping him understand the county's complicated budget during his first term in office.

"He's had the right attitude and demeanor for the commission," Dozier said. "And the stress level does get high."

Loney said he delivered a letter to the Walla Walla County Republican Party Monday notifying them of his pending resignation.

The party's central committee will now nominate three candidates to the commissioners, who will choose a person to fill the Position 1 seat until a successor is chosen in the November general election.

According to the state Constitution, the nominees must be from Loney's county commissioner district and must belong to the Republican Party.

If the two remaining commissioners cannot agree on an appointment within 60 days after Loney's seat becomes vacant, the responsibility of naming a replacement will shift to the governor, who will have 30 days to pick a nominee.

Andy Porter can be reached at andyporter@wwub.com or 526-8318.

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