John Sewell announces bid for sixth term as district attorney

February 8, 2012

Hood River County District Attorney John Sewell will seek a sixth term as the county's top law enforcement official.

"Hood River County voters will be able to re-elect an experienced and effective prosecutor," said Sewell, who has served this county through the district attorney's office the past 28 years, establishing and maintaining a variety of law enforcement programs.

Sewell ran unopposed in 2008 and 2004, and prevailed in a tough three-candidate primary in 2000. One of those opponents, Brian Aaron, recently filed to run for district attorney in 2012.

Sewell was first elected in 1992, defeating incumbent Sally Tebbet, and took office Dec. 1, 1992, a month earlier than planned, having been appointed by then-Gov. Barbara Roberts after Tebbet resigned.

Raised in Portland, Sewell graduated with honors from the University of Portland before earning his law degree at Lewis and Clark Law School. He worked for the Coos County District Attorney's Office before becoming Hood River County deputy district attorney in 1984.

"I plan to run an honest campaign," Sewell said. "I'm proud of my record and my credentials. I am the only candidate who has successfully prosecuted every major felony, from arson to armed robbery, including two capital murder cases," Sewell said.

In addition to his courtroom work, Sewell has contributed his talents to a number of local public safety efforts. He has served on the NORCOR jail advisory committee, the Teen Court advisory board, multidisciplinary team and the Local Public Safety Coordinating Council.

Sewell is a past president of the Oregon District Attorney's Association. He has served as chairman of the Governor's Oversight Committee for the Oregon Law Enforcement Data System, and served on the Attorney General's Sexual Assault Task Force. He currently sits on the Governor's Advisory Board for the Oregon State Medical Examiner Program.

Sewell is a member of the Hood River Lions. He is an active participant in the internship program at Hood River Valley High School. He has served on the Reduce Teen Pregnancy Project and the Juvenile Crime Prevention Task Force. He also serves on the Courthouse Security Committee.

Sewell said that under his leadership the district attorney's office has developed and maintained an excellent working relationship with our local agencies, the courts and partner agencies such as the Hood River County Community Corrections and Juvenile Departments.

His office has nurtured the growth of the Crime Victims Assistance Program, the Domestic Violence Diversion Program and the Child Abuse Response Coordinator Program.

Most recently he has been instrumental in establishing the Hood River County Drug Court Program and a regional Children's Assessment Center to assess and assist children who have suffered abuse and neglect.

All of these programs have been established without utilizing county general fund dollars.

"Much has been done, but there is always something more that can be done. I will never stop working to improve our system, or stop seeking ways to make Hood River County's people safer," said Sewell.

Sewell and his wife, Elese, celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary in September. They have three grown daughters: Treshia, Emily and Ariana. Elese, a registered nurse, has worked in the emergency room of Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital since 1985.

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