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2014 state elections: Its complicated


Wannabe state senators and representatives scramble to meet the March 11 filing deadline

Campaigning for the May primary and November elections is underway as the deadline to file passed March 11. Newberg and the surrounding area have three state positions up for election, House Districts 24 and 25 and Senate District 13.

House District 24

Democrat Ken Moore will run against incumbent Republican Jim Weidner for House District 25. Moore said having lived in Yamhill County for the past 35 years, he’s come to know the community and thinks his skills as a handyman will translate well to the Legislature.

“I’ve been in a lot of people’s houses. I meet them on their turf and quickly come to understand how they operate, what they want and expect, yet I still need to deliver what I think is the best solution,” Moore said. “It’s an interesting negotiation. It happens very quickly, but I’m very attuned to that process.”

He has worked as an ASPIRE (Access to Student assistance Programs in Reach of Everyone) counselor and helped bring to McMinnville the Shadow Project — which helps special education students close the achievement gap. Post, Jensen, Moore and Weidner

“I find people are concerned about two things: jobs and education,” he said. “Excellent education requires a strong economy and a strong economy requires excellent education. If the employers are going to have people to hire that are knowledgeable, we need people that have been engaged in schools and educated well. We don’t get one without the other.”

He said he hadn’t thought of running until after being asked by different people to do so.

“After it happened more often I said, ‘Well a lot of people are seeing me that way,’ as a result I started seeing myself that way,” he said. “I love it here (and) I want to be of service.”

House District 25

Chuck Lee filed as an Independent against Republican candidates Bill Post and Barbara Jensen for House District 25, currently filled by Kim Thatcher.

Lee unsuccessfully ran for the position as a Democrat in 2006 against Thatcher.

“I think I’m at another point in my life with an opportunity to do it,” Lee said.

He said he chose to run as an Independent because of the negative campaigning and pettiness that have so dominated politics of late.

“I think people are a little tired with the squabble between Democrats and Republicans. I hope running as an Independent (I can be) someone who can unite both sides,” he said.

Lee has served on the Keizer City Council, school board and is the president of Mountain West Career Tech Institute in Salem.

“Right now, obviously, education is very important to me,” he said, with respect to campaign issues. “There’s a lot of businesses in our community that have got jobs but there’s just not a good work force, especially in manufacturing. I hope to work on legislation that provides those opportunities and works to improve the economy by keeping work in our community.”

Senate District 13

Newberg City Councilor Ryan Howard had filed for House District 24 but after more candidates joined the race, he said he decided to switch to the race for Senate District 13, where he will face Thatcher in the general election in November.

“(More candidates) can lead to unpredictability’s in the primaries. I felt I would have an easier way forward in the senate race,” Howard said. “Plus I know Kim, she’s been our rep for a long time. I was prepared to run against her if she was running in the House anyway, so it was an easy decision once the others joined in to switch over.”

He said the switch hasn’t change his platform. He remains concerned with creating jobs, the education system — including lowering class sizes — holding the state accountable, Cover Oregon and increasing local government control.

“As a city councilor I see we’re closest to the people here,” he said. “Giving control back to the cities to make decisions that affect them most makes for a more effective government.”

This ideal goes hand in hand with how he’d like to handle Cover Oregon moving forward.

“It’s not as simple as saying get rid of Cover Oregon,” Howard said. “The alternative is to go onto the federal exchange. I’d prefer to have control locally.”