Vote Eileen Kiely in the Democratic primary for House District 53
The Democratic primary for House District 53 sees voters facing a good kind of problem: Two qualified candidates, both of whom would serve the district well. Eileen Kiely is a Navy veteran who spent her career as a financial controller for DaimlerChrysler. Bill Trumble, a veteran of the Vietnam War, has held positions as a scientist, university administrator and a CEO of a small company. Both Trumble and Kiely have the administrative experience that would serve constituents well in the Oregon state House—but with a crisis in the Public Employees Retirement System hanging over the heads of the Legislature in the coming session (or sessions), we believe Kiely's financial background and negotiation skills give her an edge over Trumble.
Trumble believes adding a 25 cent-per-glass assessment on beer served at Oregon taps is the way to raise the funds needed to close the gap with PERS—a simple solution that we believe could be a good start. Kiely believes the solution lies in getting Oregon corporations to pay their fair share, and mentions support for a "fair and equitable tax plan" on her campaign website. Neither of these will be particularly popular initiatives for a sector of the electorate, but both plans demonstrate the candidates' willingness to find solutions to the PERS crisis, something absolutely essential at this time.
On health care, we like Kiely's idea of allowing all individuals to buy into the Oregon Health Plan. Trumble, too, supports a universal health care program.
On the issue of the disputed bridge across the Deschutes River within the Wild and Scenic area, Trumble supports construction of a bridge, while Kiely believes the Wild and Scenic designation will preclude construction of a bridge altogether, thus making the recent efforts by retiring House 53 Rep. Gene Whisnant to create a legislative ban on bridge construction rather moot. While the bridge issue has become a touchpoint for people in the area, these two candidates seem less interested in controlling the process at the state level—and perhaps that's the way it should be.
While both candidates would be solid leaders representing House District 53, we feel Kiely's corporate negotiating skills will serve voters best in Salem. Vote Eileen Kiely in the Democratic primary for House District 53.
Vote Jack Zika in the Oregon House District 53 Republican primary
The race for the Oregon House District 53 Republican nomination contains two quite disparate candidates. Jack Zika is a Redmond real estate agent who's held numerous local government positions, including currently sitting on the Redmond Planning Commission. Ben Schimmoller, who lives in Bend, is a far-right Republican whose experience amounts to taking part in the campaign of Deschutes County Commissioner Phil Henderson, and time spent involved in the Deschutes County Republicans.
While Schimmoller seems to possess an ability to understand that this is a primary race, and one to which he needs to appeal to "the base," his politics are overall too polarizing for voters in House District 53, whose ranks include roughly one-third Republicans, Democrats and voters not affiliated with a political party. A hardline anti-abortion, uncompromising defense of the 2nd Amendment stance is indeed going to appeal to some of the Republican base, but voters in this district deserve a more measured candidate who understands the need to serve all voters, regardless of party. Jack Zika has put in his time on local committees—something we believe is crucial for candidates to be successful in the Oregon House.
Neither candidate offered any solid solutions to solving the unfunded liability crisis for the Public Employees Retirement System—the key issue facing the next Legislature. Both indicated support for lessening regulations on small businesses in order to improve the economy and thereby increase the PERS kitty, and both indicated support for a 401k-style system to deal with new enrollees to PERS. Neither, however, proposed solutions that could fund the billions in unfunded liability PERS already faces—something voters need to look for in any candidate they support this May, and in November.
Still, Zika has more experience and offers a more measured approach to leading in the state Legislature. If you're a registered Republican voting in District 53 in the May primary, vote Jack Zika.
Vote Jamie McLeod-Skinner for House District 2 in the Democratic primary
The last time Rep. Greg Walden ran for re-election in U.S. House District 2, just one Democrat, Jim Crary, ran against him. This year's Democratic primary is an entirely different landscape, with seven Democrats vying for the chance to run in November against the longtime Congressman who's held the seat since 1998. Crary is running again, along with Eric Burnette, Michael Byrne, Raz Mason, Jamie McLeod-Skinner, Jennifer Neahring and Timothy White.
When considering the vast responsibility and polish necessary to best Walden in November, we believe McLeod-Skinner is the candidate to support. McLeod-Skinner holds degrees in regional planning and civil engineering, as well as a law degree, with experience in water planning and environmental issues. She's also served two terms as a city councilwoman—experience that can't be understated when seeking to unseat a longtime Congressman.
When we met with McLeod-Skinner, she possessed institutional knowledge that set her apart from the other candidates in this race. While we believe Dr. Jennifer Neahring, who lives in Bend, would also be a strong candidate who would lead on health care issues, she has yet to put in the time in government that McLeod-Skinner has. We do hope to see her run in other local races, however.
McLeod-Skinner's candidacy is not a pie-in-the-sky ambition. Coming to the table with well-developed solutions to issues including housing, infrastructure and broadband access, McLeod-Skinner has done her homework in ways to solve the district's biggest challenges. She's a solid advocate for veterans, supporting a strong re-integration program upon their return from deployment. In addition, we like her idea to offer student loan forgiveness for people choosing careers in public service.
With homes in both Ashland and Terrebonne, she also possesses knowledge of the workings of various, disparate parts of the district. We appreciate her commitment to meeting with voters from all sides of the political spectrum and working to "lead with ideas," as opposed to leading with labels that can be polarizing in such a divided district. District 2 needs a representative who can represent and work with many differing opinions and approaches. Vote Jamie McLeod-Skinner in the Democratic primary for U.S. Representatives, 2nd District.