For this week’s episode of “Bend Don’t Break” we spoke with Judy Stiegler who served in the Oregon State Legislature for House District 54 from 2009-2011 and is now an instructor of political science at OSU - Cascades. (This district covers the City of Bend and was won by Deputy District Attorney Jason Kropf in the recent election.) Stiegler and her husband Mike Dugan have been involved in Bend’s political scene for the past 42 years and we wanted to hear her historical perspective on the results of the state and local elections.
Stiegler ran three campaigns for House District 54 over the course of her career. Although negative advertising played a role, she said she believed the race between Kropf and incumbent Republican Cheri Helt had taken a much darker turn than races in the past due to some unsubstantiated accusations made by Helt. We discussed the influence of money the race: these candidates raised more than double the funds Stiegler and her opponents collected just ten years ago.
Stiegler also talked about the changing demographics of Deschutes County: A progressive wave swept through the races for Bend City Council and County Commissioner this year unseating a number of conservatives supported by the business and real estate industry.
A decade ago, Stiegler recalled, Central Oregon had a strong Tea Party movement which may have been the reason she lost her campaign for re-election. It erupted as a backlash against the inequities of the Wall Street bailouts after the housing market collapsed (the bust in Bend was particularly devastating) and also in reaction to the nation’s first Black president, Stiegler said. But today politics are even more polarized, especially in Oregon, where Republicans walked out of the last official lawmaking session (for the fifth time) to protest an ambitious climate change bill supported by the majority of Oregonians. Stiegler offered some words of wisdom for incoming elected officials and described how she developed a reputation for “working across the aisle” in the Oregon House of Representatives.
Listen to more from Judy Stiegler of OSU-Cascades on this week's episode of “Bend Don't Break,” hosted by the Source Weekly’s publisher Aaron Switzer and co-hosted by Laurel Brauns. Every week, we feature a guest from the community with a new perspective on living through the COVID-19 pandemic including mental health professionals, economists, educators, artists, business people, local leaders and historians.
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