Anne Schuster, Commissioner

Anne Schuster, Benton County Commissioner

An effective community leader championing education, the environment and effective mental health strategies, among other priorities, Anne Schuster was elected to the Board of Commissioners in November 2014 and took office in January 2015.

Beginning her career as a research plant scientist, after the birth of her children Schuster turned her attention to volunteer efforts locally and statewide. Her focus was directed toward education and sustainability, merging the two when possible. So far in office she has been focusing on tackling several community issues from homelessness to working with Benton County Mental Health and the Sheriff’s Office on collaboration to address how we deal with mental health issues as they impact interactions with law enforcement.

She co-founded the Youth Mental Health Coalition, along with Dr. Caroline Fisher. Commissioner Schuster is involved locally on the Cascades West Council of Governments Board, the Homeless Oversight Committee and Rotary. Regionally, Commissioner Schuster is active on the Workforce Investment Board, working to create job training opportunities that benefit local businesses as well as employees and job seekers to create a workforce necessary to support a thriving 21st-Century economy. Complementing those efforts, she is working toward and Education Workforce Pipeline in Benton County involving local educational institutions and business leaders.

With a constant focus on learning and a strong desire to hear and incorporate diverse community voices to solve complex problems, she also brings a rural perspective to the job. Commissioner Schuster is interested in succession of family farms as some operators reach retirement age while balancing that development with an eye toward a healthy future with fresh local foods and combating climate change locally.

To promote safety in rural areas of Benton County, Commissioner Schuster is working to address the lack of fire department services in the Greenberry Gap area, an area without fire coverage located between properties covered by Monroe, Philomath and Corvallis fire departments. She believes that emergency preparedness for a potential Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake and other natural disasters is paramount.

Commissioner Schuster is a longtime community leader, and served in numerous roles before being elected to the county’s highest elected office. Locally, on the Corvallis School Board, she reached the position of Chair. Regionally and statewide, Schuster held positions on the Oregon School Board Association, Benton County Solid Waste Advisory Committee, Oregon Green Schools and the Sustainable Oregon Schools Initiative.

As a program host and on the board of Leadership Corvallis, she experienced the ins and outs of Corvallis and Benton County and said she felt fortunate to become familiar with the community’s up-and-coming community leaders. Participating in the Local Benton Advisory Committee for the InterCommunity Health Network Coordinated Care Organization has acquainted her with the new local health system.

She holds a doctoral degree from the University of Nebraska in plant molecular biology.

In her spare time she gardens 5 acres, growing much of her own food and her watercolor art reflects her property and the Willamette Valley.