Vale mayor announces run for county judge, challenging Dan Joyce

Vale mayor Tom Vialpando announced last week he will seek to unseat current Malheur County Judge Dan Joyce in the May 2022 election. (The Enterprise/PAT CALDWELL).

VALE – Vale Mayor Tom Vialpando has filed to run against incumbent Malheur County Judge Dan Joyce in the May 2022 election.

Vialpando filed to run for the full-time paid position last week. The county judge presides over the Malheur County Court, which is the county’s three-person governing commission, and is elected for a six-year term.

“I think I have the ability to pull many people in from other areas, such as other cities in Malheur County, and I think we can be a little more unified,” said Vialpando.

Vialpando moved to Vale in 2018 and was elected mayor in November 2020.

Joyce has served either as a county commissioner or judge for more than 18 years. He was first elected county judge in 2004. Joyce, 67, recently filed to seek a fourth term in the nonpartison post.

Joyce said his record should speak for itself and he touted his membership in key state, regional and national political organizations as a positive for Malheur County.

For example, Joyce is the first vice president of the Western region of the National Association of Counties.

Dan Joyce, Malheur County judge, is seeking a fourth term in 2022. (Enterprise file photo)

“We work together and promote agendas for the wellbeing of the residents of Malheur County,” said Joyce.

The interstate region consists of county elected officials from 16 western states.

Joyce is also on the board of the Oregon Association of Counties and a member of the agriculture committee for the National Association of Counties.

Joyce said those positons help him promote Malheur County.

 “I think that may be one of the most important pieces. No doubt, it raises the visibility of the county,” he said.

Joyce said he believes most voters are confident in his leadership.

“I don’t know if I have even been told I am doing a bad job,” he said.

Vialpando, 51, said it is time for measured, but steady, change for the county.

“I am a firm believer in term limits. For a person (Joyce) to be in one position that long politically and not move either up or down in the political spectrum, I believe people become complacent,” he said.

Vialpando said political positions are not meant to be career opportunities.

“If you do make it a career you need to be in different positions as opposed to staying in position for such a long time. It’s nothing against Dan, just my personal opinion,” said Vialpando.

Vialpando said he believe people “know me and I believe people know my stance on different issues and that I am approachable.”

“I have the energy and I have the drive. I believe I have the attitude and the ability to bring people to the table for discussion,” he said.

Vialpando said he was born and raised in southeast Idaho. He served in the U.S. Air Force and was honorably discharged in 1997. Vialpando brought his family to Vale to be closer to his son, who lives in Boise. He is a part owner in a 3D Printing business called ImagineThat Treasure Valley.

Joyce is a life-long Malheur County resident and former rancher.

Malheur County Commissioner Don Hodge confirmed he will run for his fourth term while County Clerk Gayle Trotter and County Treasurer Jennifer Forsyth said they will also run again. Dave Goldthorpe, Malheur County district attorney, and Malheur Circuit Court Judge Erin Landis also verified they will seek another term.

The deadline to file for the open positions is March 8, 2022.

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected]

Previous coverage:

Vialpando sets his sights on first term as Vale mayor

County elected leaders issue letter of protest over governor’s Covid mandates

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