Meet Bob Old Version

Ashland Community Involvement

New to Politics

I have been a lifelong public servant, but I’ve never run for office and never thought I would. 

What changed my mind? I love Ashland, and I’ve seen how hard the last two years have been for our city. The pandemic and Almeda Fire have taken their toll on our people, our economy, and our belief in our ability to find solutions. We’re on the front line of climate change — smoky summers, fire risk, heat, and drought are on everyone’s minds. It’s clear to me this community works for some people, but not for everyone. Like so many other cities, we have a crisis of affordability.

My career in public service has taught me people are resilient and can face even the toughest challenges. Communities can come together despite differences to accomplish amazing things. Ashland has tremendous assets, and we face many strategic decisions now that will shape our future. I’ve spent the last three years getting involved in many ways, and I’ve come to believe my skills and life experience can be of service as we plot our course forward into a future that surely will be different than the past.

If elected to the City Council, you can count on me to do my homework, ask questions first, listen attentively, act with integrity, and stay focused on solutions.

My only agenda is an Ashland that works for everyone. 

Family Life

I grew up the middle of five children in a middle-class household. My parents were first-generation Americans, and my dad was the first in his family to attend some college. He worked his whole career at IBM, and I grew up in New York State’s Hudson Valley, England, and North Carolina. My mom devoted herself to creating a home and taking care of the kids. We were very fortunate.

My wife Lorrie and I met in college working at the undergraduate library. We married in 1984 and served two years together in the US Peace Corps in rural Paraguay.  

Over 40 years and raising two wonderful children, Lorrie and I are each other’s best friend. We have learned a lot about each other and ourselves over the years, and we’re still having fun! A sense of humor definitely helps.

Bob, Dylan, Elise, and Lorrie!

Our daughter Elise is a reporter for the Albuquerque Journal, and our son Dylan supplies Washington, DC-area chefs with the best fresh produce. Both have chosen excellent partners, and we enjoyed two joyous (and COVID-safe) weddings in October 2021. 

Family Christmas 2019 — Stephanie and Dylan, Elise and Hans

A Career Dedicated to Public Service

I have always worked in public service.

Shortly after enrolling in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I learned about a new major in Public Policy Analysis. From my first class, I was hooked, and became one of the first UNC students to graduate with a B.A. in public policy.

After three years as a Peace Corps volunteer in rural Paraguay working on water and sanitation, I went on to deepen my training in public policy by completing a Master’s in Public Affairs from Princeton in 1988.

Ah…Those Peace Corps days…..near Santa Cecilia, Paraguay. I’m the one with the beard, talking with neighbors drying yerba mate.

My entire career has been focused on helping communities thrive. From 1988-2010, I worked at the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank supporting sustainable development in Latin America. We combined technical expertise, sound public policy, and low-cost financing to help governments achieve results.  

From 2010-2017, I served as President of the Inter-American Foundation, a US government foundation that supports community organizations all over Latin America. 

Meeting with a weavers cooperative in Bolivia …at 15,000 feet above sea level!
I’m the last person on the right.

My career provided me the opportunity to work with many wonderful people on critical issues like water and wastewater systems, natural disaster risk management, farming, rural development, environmental protection, municipal development, and primary education. What I learned about how to approach these issues in a wide array of geographies and circumstances is applicable to Ashland as well.

People say I ask a lot of questions, and it’s true. Part of that comes from my curious nature, part from my public policy training, and part because I’m genuinely interested in and care about people. I’m driven by the need to find solutions that work for everyone. 

After working in Washington, DC for three decades, and with our two kids fully grown and happily partnered, my wife Lorrie and I decided to jump off the merry-go-round, see our own country, and explore our next chapter.

The eight months we spent traveling the Western US in a pick-up truck and tent were among the best times of our lives. We spent nearly every minute of every day outside–camping, hiking, backpacking, paddling, and avoiding cities.

Like so many easterners, we were drawn to the natural beauty of the West, as well as the variety of cultures that comprise our diverse country.

Coming to Ashland

People ask what brought us to Ashland. Our time on the road gave us a chance to think about our values.

We were drawn to the idea of a small city with abundant culture and a well-regarded institution of higher learning, surrounded by incredible natural beauty, and capable growers of the food we eat. We chose, and we still choose, Ashland. 

After living in a metropolitan area, we were eager to be part of a smaller community and curious about how the city works and how all the parts fit together.

On the Pacific Crest Trail near Ashland

I went to my first City Council meeting a week after our arrival in summer 2019. I was impressed how engaged people were, and it made me want to learn more. I read the City’s basic planning and financial documents, attended lots of meetings, and started volunteering in the community.

Volunteer Service

I have enjoyed the opportunity to serve in a wide range of volunteer roles in Ashland.

As a front-desk volunteer at the OHRA Resource Center (at that time next to the Safeway), I met many neighbors living on the edge. I learned how much it means to have someone on your side when problems arise. I joined the Options for Helping Residents of Ashland board in 2020. 

As a volunteer for Únete, I co-teach a civics class in Spanish to help long-term residents gain US citizenship. In addition to learning about the pathways to citizenship, it’s opened a window into the challenges faced by friends in the Latino/a/x community here in the Valley. 

I joined the City’s Climate Policy Commission in 2020 and recently became Chair. Serving on the Citizens’ Budget Committee for last year’s biennial City budget discussions, I learned the nitty gritty of Ashland’s budget process. I read the City’s financial statements and I understand Ashland’s financial trend line and current situation. 

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being a volunteer reader for the Ashland New Plays Festival for the past three years. That had me reading a lot of plays each winter!

I’m also a big fan of co-ops, so Lorrie and I joined the Ashland Food Co-op our first day in town. On the AFC Gives Committee, which awards small grants to local nonprofits, I learned about many amazing organizations in and around Ashland. I joined the Co-op’s board in June 2022. 

More About Me

I’m an avid cyclist: I’ve logged over 100,000 miles on the road –- that’s four times around the circumference of the earth or nearly halfway to the moon. I love being on my bike, and that’s mostly how I get around in Ashland. I’m learning to ride on gravel so I can explore the forest roads of the Ashland watershed. 

I love learning languages. I’m fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, and can get by in French and Italian. I still speak a bit of Guaraní, the indigenous language of Paraguay.

Last but not least, I have endless curiosity. I love getting to know people, hearing about their lives, and what is important to them. Like I said, I ask A LOT of questions.

My Resume in Brief