Wrap-up of candidates for local, district, state and Congressional seats

Editor's Note: Over the course of the last three weeks, as part of Siuslaw News' Nov. 6 election coverage, each of the candidates for positions on the Florence City Council, District 9, Governor and Congressional District 4 participated in a Q&A with the Siuslaw News. Each of those articles appears below, beginning with the Florence City Council and ending with the Congressional race. If you missed any of those articles, you can find them here by scrolling through.

Florence City Council  

By Chantelle Meyer/Siuslaw News

As part of the Nov. 6 General Election coverage, Siuslaw News reached out to the four candidates running for positions on the Florence City Council.

Florence Mayor Joe Henry is again running unopposed for his two-year position. Three community members, Geraldine Lucio, Maureen Miltenberger and incumbent Woody Woodbury, are in the running for two four-year city council positions, which are currently held by Susy Lacer and Woodbury, who was appointed to the council in January.

All four candidates answered questions about their experiences, reasons for running and plans for the city. In alphabetical order, read an introduction to each person and then see their responses to five questions.

Disclaimer: Siuslaw News is not endorsing any candidate or measure included in this series. Any views or opinions stated are exclusively those of the individuals themselves. Siuslaw News is not responsible for the accuracy or reliability of information submitted by the individuals.

Joe Henry — Position: Florence Mayor

Henry is employed as a mortgage originator. His background includes more than 36 years in business management with two major companies, plus profit and loss responsibility for 350 consumer and mortgage branch offices, with approximately 1,350 employees.

Geraldine Lucio — Position: Florence City Councilor

Lucio is a small business owner who operates Old Town Barbershop. Previously, she worked for USAA and JP Morgan providing internet support and customer service. She then switched gears and attended Avenue Five Institute School of Cosmetology to become a third-generation barber.

Maureen Miltenberger — Position: Florence City Councilor

Miltenberger is retired from over 40 years in the fields of education, program development, program supervision and work with homeless and low-income populations. She taught in Yachats and Guam before leaving in 1978 to work with food banks and gleaning programs. She was the executive director of The Community Action Agency in Lewiston, Idaho, which included six food banks, a weatherization program, The Area Agency on Aging and Head Start. Her work has gone toward breaking the chain of generational dependence on government housing by encouraging self-sufficiency.

Woody Woodbury — Position: Florence City Councilor

Woodbury retired in April from Florence Grocery Outlet, where he worked to provide employment opportunities to people from all walks of life. He was appointed to the Florence City Council in January after former councilor George Lyddon vacated the position.

What are your qualifications in applying for this position?

Henry: I have leadership training and years of experience in all aspects of management in a large corporation, including financial management, human resources, marketing and loss mitigation. The recent successes of our city are perhaps the best testimonial of my ability to work with people of all backgrounds and achieve results. Of course, none of the results would have been possible without the leadership and quality people we have in our city government.

Being Mayor is about being a coach and encouraging high performance people to perform.

Lucio: I’m a successful small business owner and employer, which requires a variety of skills such as financial management, marketing, customer service, leadership and the ability to delegate, as well as communication, negotiation, coaching and problem solving. I know how to manage a budget and I am fiscally cautious.

I’m also a good listener. As a barber, I hear a lot about people’s concerns and what’s going on in their lives. I have the opportunity hear the real issues/concerns that people have. I could use that information to make our community better. I don’t have my own agenda.

Plus, since I am somewhat new to town, I have a fresh approach to issues. I’ll have a new perspective to offer Florence.

Miltenberger: I have years of experience in the development and implementation of regulations, policies and procedures. I have worked with people from all walks of life in a variety of situations. Previously, I was appointed and then elected to the Canby City Council. I am familiar with the operations of our city council as I have attended many council meetings and Planning Commission meetings. I am also the chairperson of the Environmental Management Advisory Committee (EMAC) for the city. I am retired so have the time required to prepare for the council meetings and work sessions.

Woodbury: I’m currently serving as a city councilor for the City of Florence. I’m a successful business owner who recently retired. I served seven years on the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, including one year as vice president and two years as president. I am also currently a director for Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue Board of Directors.


How are you involved in the community?

Henry: I am president and treasurer of Resurrection Lutheran Church, have been mayor of Florence for four years, a board member and treasurer of the Oregon Coast Military Museum, the business manager of Shelter Cove HOA, and a member Florence Elks and Friends of the Florence Events Center.

Lucio: I have attended, sponsored and supported a variety of events and fundraisers for many worthwhile causes here in Florence, such as the Boys and Girls Club, The Salvation Army, Green Carpet Fashion Show, Hair Cuts for Veterans, free haircuts for kids at Crossroads Assembly Church and volunteering at our local Elks Lodge.

More recently, I have been attending city council meetings and meeting with key people in our city, such as the city manager and Florence Area Chamber of Commerce, to get input and perspective for moving forward to solve some of our most pressing issues.

Miltenberger: I am the chairperson of EMAC, the committee that was responsible for educating the community regarding the harm of polystyrene and ultimately getting its sale banned from in the city limits. We currently have a public survey to ascertain how our community feels about banning single use plastic bags.

I am also the chairperson of the Siuslaw Climate Alliance, the group that was responsible for the Earth Day celebration in April of this year. I am a volunteer tutor at Lane Community College in the Adult Basic Education department. I have participated in the women’s marches held in our community as well as organizing the “Never Again” march held in response to our recent school shootings.

Woodbury: I have volunteered for numerous nonprofits over the last 13 years. I also currently serve on the Airport Advisory Committee as an ex-officio member for the Florence City Council. I also have experience with Florence Urban Renewal Agency the Boys and Girls Club of Western Lane County, Florence Food Share, Friends of the Florence Events Center and Habitat for Humanity.


What do you see as the upcoming priorities for your position?

Henry: Priorities in our community are of course housing and continued growth and job creation. Working within the educational system to help develop skilled workers.

Lucio: Property crime/theft; affordable housing; homelessness; promoting small business; illegal camping; expanding the tax base; recruitment and retention of businesses; and keeping Florence affordable.

Miltenberger: The most obvious priority in Florence is the lack of affordable housing. I strongly support all economically viable efforts to increase housing and overall livability in Florence, to attract and keep medical professionals, educators and skilled laborers. I will work for increased activities and facilities, such as a park in Old Town, for our youth. I will also encourage diverse cultural experiences supported or encouraged by our city.

Woodbury: We are a “City in Motion” and I will continue to work to improve city services as well as to improve the quality of life for our citizens.


What do you anticipate as being your biggest challenges?

Henry: Maintaining a non-partisan atmosphere within City Government.

Lucio: Finding a way to work together without becoming polarized, while finding real solutions.

Miltenberger: The biggest challenge I see is working with the council and staff to make sure that all business owners and citizens of Florence feel like they are being equally treated and being served regardless of race, faith, gender or sexual orientation. I would like the city to encourage more public participation in council meetings and work sessions.

Woodbury: Bringing more affordable housing to Florence and working to bring more jobs across all skill levels.


Is there anything you’d like to add?

Henry: The success of the city in the past four years has been a simple matter of getting the right people in the right places, giving them some encouragement and then getting out of the way and letting them excel. One of the things I have worked hard on is keeping people’s agendas — including my own — out of city government and that has paid off and will continue to do so in the future if we remain aware of this critical issue.

Lucio: I will listen, participate and step outside of the box when needed. Getting to know the other council members, putting Florence first and finding ways to work together on key issues will be my priority. I am ready for the challenge. I love Florence.

Miltenberger: I was born in North Bend, grew up in Newport and have chosen to retire in Florence. I feel that as a native Oregonian, and someone who has spent many years in different areas of the coast, I have the best understanding of the needs of citizens living in our remarkable city.

Woodbury: I enjoy serving my community and working with the city’s council and staff as we continue to improve services through proper management of our budget and resources.


Dunes City Council

By Chantelle Meyer/Siuslaw News

Like its larger neighbor Florence, Dunes City has four candidates running for position on the Dunes City Council. However, each of Dunes City’s candidates are running unopposed for their same positions.

According to Dunes City Recorder Jamie Mills, three of the council’s seven positions are running, along with Mayor Bob Forsythe. These include councilors Sheldon Meyer, Susan Snow and Duke Wells, who each will run for a four-year term. The mayor is a two-year term.

Forsythe was appointed Dunes City mayor on Aug. 25, 2017, after the death of former mayor Rebecca Ruede. He first joined the city council in 2016 after running a write-in campaign.

“A while back, Rebecca asked me to sit on Dunes City Council and I was honored to do so,” Forsythe said in 2017. “I tend to get involved everywhere I live, whether it be a homeowner association or city, mainly because I found that if other people decide what is good for me, I want to at least have a voice in it.”

He previously served as Port of Siuslaw port manager and is a veteran.

Meyer is the council president and has served a number of years on the council, including a stint as acting mayor, before stepping down in 2007. In December 2013, Meyer was appointed to fill a council vacancy and later was elected to the position.

At the time of his return to Dunes City Council, Meyer said he had been watching the progress of the council for some time and was pleased with their ability to work well together.

Snow is the most recent member of the Dunes City Council. She was appointed in December to fill the vacancy created when then-councilor Forsythe stepped into the role of mayor.

Snow has lived in Dunes City full-time since 2016, but she has had family and real estate ties to the area in the past. She also had an extensive career with the U.S. Air Force.

“I like to be involved with the city where I live,” Snow said during the Dec. 13 meeting where she was sworn in. “… I want to keep it a nice, friendly place that people are happy to live in, and that there’s no contention between residents or the cities around us.”

Wells has also served a number of terms on the Dunes City Council. A Siuslaw graduate, he served in the U.S. Air Force and later became a logger in the region. He and his family run Old Cedar Tree Woodworking in Florence.

In a newsletter from 2011, he wrote, “My goal on the Dunes City Council is very simple. It is to help protect the rights of the citizens and the rights of the property owners of Dunes City.”

In 2012, he was instrumental in creating the Volunteer of the Year award for the city’s top volunteer.

Each of these candidates will be on the Dunes City ballot, which Lane County mailed this week.

The Dunes City Council meets the second Wednesday of each month at 6 p.m. at Dunes City Hall, 82877 Spruce St. in Westlake. To view past meetings, visit dunescityhall.com/video-minutes.


Caddy McKeown and Teri Grier: District 9

By Mark Brennan/Siuslaw News

The race to represent Oregon House of Representatives District Nine is a contest between incumbent Democrat Caddie McKeown and Republican challenger Teri Grier.

McKeown has represented the district since 2012 and Grier has no prior experience as an elected official, working most recently as an instructor at Southwestern Oregon Community College.

The two candidates have provided the Siuslaw News with responses to questions to clarify their priorities if elected on Nov. 6, 2018.


Why are you interested in serving as the representative for Oregon House District Nine?

Grier: I’m running because I don’t think our needs and issues have been well represented in Salem by our current representative. We need someone who will vote for our issues and sponsor legislation that our coastal communities need, not someone who is beholden to their party leadership or the interests of Portland.

McKeown: I’m seeking reelection as your state representative to make sure the South Coast gets our fair share of funding and support for our schools, our economy and our people. I’m committed to protecting and promoting the South Coast because this is my home and the home of my friends, neighbors and loved ones.


What are the most significant challenges facing the House this term?

Grier: Special interests that prevent good work from getting done on the issue of PERS. Until we are able to come to the table and come up with a bipartisan and meaningful solution to PERS, we will not be able to financially solve any long-term issues facing Oregon. Legislators must remember that despite who funded their campaigns, they go to Salem to serve the needs of their constituents first.

McKeown: It’s imperative for the South Coast to be able to generate family wage jobs, fully fund our schools and take care of our veterans and seniors. I’ve dedicated a lifetime of community service to fighting for economic prosperity at every turn. That’s why I’ve fought for $100 million in investments in our port and transportation infrastructure; brought $850,000 to our local shellfish industry and insisted on investments in career and technical education and vocational training for our students.


What issues are you most concerned with at this time?

Grier: We need a realistic approach to PERS. Without a responsible fiscal path on this issue, we will not be able to realistically tackle our other issues like our failing schools or the state of wards managed by DHS (Department of Human Services). These issues and more won’t be able to be solved for the long term unless we bring a realistic solution to PERS.

The beneficiaries of PERS are also at risk and need to receive their just compensation; if we don’t act now, the system may become bankrupt and these people will receive nothing. That is unacceptable. With PERS comes the need for serious economic development in rural Oregon. We need to create opportunities for industries to return, so we can have family-wage jobs back and grow our economy and communities.

McKeown: While our economy is growing in Oregon, that growth isn’t reaching everyone. Over the next four years, I will bring together Democrats and Republicans, urban and rural Oregonians, to tackle the state’s big problems and make sure every Oregonian has the opportunity to thrive.

First, we have to strengthen our schools. I have a plan to expand high-quality preschool in the next two years to an additional 10,000 low-income children, as well as reduce class sizes, require a 180-day school year and expand career and technical education.

For all Oregonians to thrive, we must also expand access to high-quality, affordable health care. I will fight to protect our Medicaid expansion and make sure that every Oregonian, no matter where they live, has access to the care they need.


What are the major policy differences or priorities that separate you from your challenger?

Grier: I’d say the major policy differences are that I believe that Oregonians pay enough taxes and fees. I want my constituents to have more money in their pockets so that they can support their local economies, buy homes and be able to give their children opportunities.

My opponent has regularly created taxes and fees, and supported regulations that have contributed to the poor state of our coastal communities. Cap and Trade is a major example of this, and my opponent is a staunch supporter of this. I stand with our local businesses though, and I know that burdensome regulation will only harm our communities. Oregon’s emissions footprint could be described as minimal at best and harming our businesses won’t help it.

McKeown: I think the most fundamental difference between my opponent and myself is that I’m from here. I was born and raised here and know the unique character of the South Coast; I understand, firsthand, the challenges we face, and I’ve spent my life producing real solutions for my home. I’ve done this by being a collaborator and a team player and I took that approach with me to Salem. I have earned a reputation by being a bi-partisan legislator who gets things done. In three terms in office, I’ve created the Office of Small Business Assistance and the Oregon Shellfish Initiative, increased staff and administrator standards in our long-term care and dementia facilities and passed an historic state-wide transportation package that will improve highway safety, lower emissions and put people to work.


Please share anything else you feel is important for our readers to know about your candidacy.

Grier:  I moved to Oregon because I was suffering from a severe case of Valley Fever that nearly killed me. My doctor recommended that I find the cleanest air after my treatments so that my lungs would have a better chance to heal. Oregon quite literally saved my life. My decades of policy experience with rural economic development can be put to use to help and give back to the place that saved me. I want to serve because we deserve better, and I have the experience to do better.

McKeown: I’m running to be your state representative because the people here matter to me. I go to Salem every year to make sure that the South Coast has a strong voice at the table — someone who knows us and can represent our unique way of life. I was born and raised here. I know the struggles of the South Coast, and I also know our potential. It’s why I work so hard in Salem to bring family wage jobs and quality education to the South Coast — because our people are our strongest asset.


Oregon Governor’s Race: Kate Brown and Knute Buehler

By Mark Brennan/Siuslaw News

To provide voters with a closer look at the candidates for Oregon’s Governor and Fourth Congressional District, what follows is a Q&A that primary candidates for those races had with the Siuslaw News.

The race to occupy the Oregon Governor’s Mansion, Mahonia Hall, is officially a contest between four candidates. However only two of these individuals are likely to receive enough support from voters to become Oregon’s next Governor.

Nick Chen is running as the candidate of the Libertarian Party and Patrick Starnes is running as an Independent. Neither candidate has a statewide ground organization, and both have a very limited media presence, with no major television or radio ads airing in the week leading up to the election.

Oregon State Rep. Knute Buehler is the Republican candidate for governor and sitting Democrat Gov. Kate Brown is running for her first full term in the office.

Both Brown and Buehler are polling in the 40th percentiles among voters, with Starnes and Chen trailing far behind.

The political statistics firm Real Clear Politics is calling the race to lead Oregon a “toss-up.”

The 2018 governor’s race is the second time these candidates have competed for the same office, with Buehler being defeated by Brown for the position of Secretary of State in 2015.

Brown then served as secretary of state under former Gov. John Kitzhaber and ascended to the state’s highest office after Kitzhaber’s unexpected resignation in 2015.

Brown won a special election in 2016 to finish the remainder of Kitzhaber’s term and is now running for her first full term as governor.

Brown’s educational background includes a Bachelor of Art degree from the University of Colorado in Environmental Conservation and a J.D. degree from the Northwestern School of Law at Lewis and Clark College, obtained in 1985.

Buehler is serving his second term as the representative from District 54, which includes Coos Bay. He is a graduate of Oregon State University and was the school’s first Rhodes Scholar, attending Merton College in Oxford, England. Buehler then graduated from John Hopkins University in Maryland before beginning a successful medical practice in Bend.

Brown is currently leading Buehler by a few percentage points in polling, 43 to 40 percent, the difference within the statistical margin of error, as the race has tightened over the last month.

Both Brown and Buehler provided responses to questions posed with an eye towards gaining insight into the priorities of the candidates.


Why are you running for governor?

Brown: I first ran for public office to be a voice for the voiceless. And as Oregon’s governor, every day I am fighting to improve the lives of working families.

As governor, I led bipartisan work on transportation, Medicaid funding and ensuring all kids have healthcare. We worked across the aisle to make community college more affordable and put more dollars into our classrooms.

We worked together, urban and rural, to build a better Oregon. When politicians tried to cut Oregonians’ healthcare, I fought back. I protected our coast from offshore drilling.

I made sure every woman can access reproductive healthcare. I have been clear during my time as governor that I will do what I say and say what I do. My record is clear. I will stand up and protect the Oregon that we love.

Buehler: Serving in the legislature and running for governor has given me the chance to listen to and learn from Oregonians all across the state. This has confirmed an important insight for me that Oregonians are unhappy with the performance of our state government and especially its leaders in Salem.

Despite all the good we have going for us, including record revenue in our treasury, our most pressing problems are still getting worse. What we are missing is a government as good, as wise, as innovative and as thrifty as her people.

This is why I am running for governor. To bring moderate, independent leadership to fix the big problems Brown has avoided, ignored or made worse as governor.


What do you feel are the most pressing challenges facing our state?

Brown: Our state faces many challenges, but the most pressing include strengthening our education system and improving our graduation rate, protecting access to high-quality, affordable health care, and increasing affordable housing options in the state.

Buehler: My top priority will be to rescue our students, teachers and public schools from the classroom funding and graduation crisis that has gone on for far too long. The single biggest failure of Gov. Brown is her indifference to fixing our public schools. I have a detailed plan with big important goals to fix it.

The vision is ambitious — but achievable. As governor, I’ll lead Oregon schools from the bottom five to the top five in five years by fixing Oregon’s broken pension system, increasing funding for our classrooms, and making targeted investments in proven programs — such as CTE/STEM and 3rd grade reading.


What issues are you interested in addressing if elected?

Brown: While our economy is growing in Oregon, that growth isn’t reaching everyone. Over the next four years, I will bring together Democrats and Republicans, urban and rural Oregonians, to tackle the state’s big problems and make sure every Oregonian has the opportunity to thrive.

First, we have to strengthen our schools. I have a plan to expand high-quality preschool in the next two years to an additional 10,000 low-income children; reduce class sizes, require a 180-day school year, and expand career and technical education.

For all Oregonians to thrive, we must also expand access to high-quality, affordable health care. I will fight to protect our Medicaid expansion and make sure that every Oregonian, no matter where they live, has access to the care they need.

Buehler: As mentioned above, one of my top priorities is fixing our broken education system and pension program.

Next, we need to regain our status as a national leader in health care and Medicaid delivery, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands of Oregonians who depend on it.

In the past our health care system was known for its compassion and innovation. Today, it is known for scandals, mismanagement and waste. As a physician, I will lead to ensure that every Oregonian has access to high-quality health care.

Third, homelessness is a humanitarian, public health and public safety crisis. I will lead with compassion, and a little tough love to ensure that in Oregon, a tent or a sidewalk is never anyone’s home.

Finally, our rural communities have been left behind and forgotten by leaders in Salem for far too long. Oregon’s rural-urban divide is not an immovable feature of the natural landscape. It is an artificial political divide resulting from choices made every day in Salem by elected officials and unelected government employees. I will be a leader for all of Oregon.

As governor, I will make State government a partner for growing jobs and restoring hope and opportunity in rural Oregon.


How do your positions differ from those of your opponents?

Brown: Sometimes I feel like I’m running against two different people because what candidate Buehler says does not match what Rep. Buehler has done — especially when it comes to health care. As a legislator, Rep. Buehler voted against a bipartisan package to fund Oregon’s Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

By voting no, he voted to take away critical health care from 430,000 Oregonians — including 80,000 kids. Rep. Buehler also voted against a plan that would have covered 100 percent of Oregon’s children. That’s not only dead set against Oregon values, it’s cruel.

Buehler: I will challenge the status quo and be a governor for all of Oregon, no matter who you are, where you live, who you love, or how you register to vote. In contrast, Brown has proven that she is unwilling to take on the powerful special interests in her own party that defend a broken system. I will bring moderate, independent leadership to the governorship while working with Democrats, Republicans and Independents to help solve our most pressing issues.

What else is important to know about your candidacy?

Brown: As governor, I brought legislators from both parties together to fight for Oregon families.

We passed a transportation package that will reduce traffic, create 16,000 new jobs and make our roads safer. We passed a first in the nation pay equity and fair scheduling bills.

We worked together to ensure that 430,000 Oregonians have access to affordable health care because everyone should be able to see the doctor when they’re sick.

Buehler: Brown has been in elected office for 30 years and the past four as governor. She has more money than any other governor in Oregon’s history, yet our most pressing problems continue to get worse — teachers are still getting laid off, class sizes are getting bigger and our graduation rates are still third-worst in the nation.

We have a growing homelessness crisis and vulnerable foster kids are not getting the care they need. Brown had her chance to show that she is capable of solving the big problems facing Oregonians.

We need new leadership. I will lead where Kate Brown has failed.


Congressional District 4: Peter DeFazio and Art Robinson

By Mark Brennan/Siuslaw News

DeFazio and Robinson are facing off for the fifth time.

Oregon has five Congressional Districts and Florence is included in District 4. District 4 represents the southern half of Oregon’s coastal counties including Coos, Curry, Douglas, Lane and Linn counties and most of Benton and Josephine counties.

 Democrat Rep. Peter DeFazio has represented District 4 since 1987 and is running for re-election this year. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tufts University and a Master of Arts degree from the University of Oregon. He is the ranking member on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and is running against opponent Art Robinson.

Robinson has a Bachelor of Science degree from the California Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of California in San Diego. He is a well-known scientific and medical researcher, having worked with Linus Pauling co-founding the prestigious Institute of Orthomolecular Medicine.

He served as president, director and tenured research professor at the research facility after it was renamed the Linus Pauling Institute in 1971.


Why are you interested in representing Oregon District 4?

DeFazio: Most Oregonians are tired of partisan bickering and gridlock in Washington. And so am I. But I have a fire in my belly and a lot of good ideas about how we can make progress for the American people.

I would like the Congress to work together to improve health care, make investments in job-creating infrastructure programs and make college more affordable. I will work with the Trump White House or anybody else to meet those goals. But when I disagree with the president or my party I will use my voice and my vote to stand up for our Oregon values.

I have built seniority that puts me in position to be the Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee if Democrats win the majority. I will be part of crafting an agenda that makes investments in our roads, bridges, ports and airports and creates jobs and strengthens the economy.

Robinson: I am running because I think I can do a good job. I have been successful in medical research and I have been a successful educator and scientist. Most importantly, I have been successful in the real world. Mr. DeFazio has served in congress for 40 years and he has no real-world experience.

As a scientist I am a problem solver. DeFazio does not want to solve the problems we face, he just wants to figure out how he can benefit from them. All he really cares about is making sure he gets re-elected.


What issues are you most concerned with at this time?

DeFazio: Many Oregonians are one serious health issue away from personal financial crisis. Quality affordable healthcare is the top concern of most Americans and a top priority for Democrats in Congress. It’s time to reduce healthcare costs by expanding coverage, protecting consumers, creating a public option outside of the for-profit insurance industry, and allowing the federal government to negotiate lower drug prices for Medicare recipients.

Robinson: I am really concerned with improving access to medical care. There are estimates that as much as 20 percent of the earnings of real people go to paying for their medical costs and medical care. I have spent a lifetime working in the medical field and know we can make a lot of progress there. The economy has improved under President Trump and we need to take this opportunity to support the president’s initiatives to reform healthcare.

Again, Mr. DeFazio has no interest in providing good health care to people; all he wants to do is figure out a way to secure votes, while continuing to postpone meaningful changes to the healthcare system.


What are the most significant challenges facing the House this term?

DeFazio: If Democrats win the majority in the House, it will be a message from the electorate that they want Congress to uphold its constitutional duty to serve as a check on the Trump administration. As Chairman of the House Transportation Committee with oversight of the General Services Administration, I plan to investigate the president’s conflict of interest as both the lessee and lessor of the Trump Hotel and White House involvement in the siting of a new FBI Headquarters.

It will be a challenge to find common ground legislatively, but I’m hopeful that we can come together in Congress to make a significant investment in our nation’s infrastructure to create good-paying jobs in construction, technology and engineering, and get the country’s economy moving.

I have three bipartisan infrastructure proposals — that are fully paid for and would not increase the deficit — that would invest over $500 billion in the nation’s crumbling roads, bridges, transit systems, ports, harbors, and airports. According to the Council of Economic Advisers, every $1 billion invested in transportation infrastructure creates or sustains 13,000 jobs.

I am also hopeful we can find common ground to reduce healthcare costs by expanding coverage, protecting consumers, creating a public option outside of the for-profit insurance industry, and allowing the federal government to negotiate lower drug prices for Medicare recipients.

Robinson: Electing representatives that support the president. President Trump has done a great job fixing the economy and cutting taxes. But Mr. DeFazio opposes the president, not for his ideas or policies but as a partisan attack on the president.

I think it is very important that we elect representatives that support the president and his policies. Mr. DeFazio has opposed any changes that the president has wanted to make, not because of the policies, but as a way to make a partisan point.

He does this for votes, not because of what he believes.


Provide our readers with the major differences between your opponents and yourself:

DeFazio: I supported the Affordable Care Act and expansion of Medicare to 150,000 people in my district. My opponent opposes expanding Medicare and making health care more affordable.

I support strengthening Social Security by lifting the cap and making all income subject to the federal payroll tax — a waiter shouldn’t pay a higher percentage of his or her salary to Social Security than a CEO of a corporation. My opponent wants to privatize Social Security and let Wall Street gamble with it.

I’ve always supported a woman’s right to choose and access the health care that she needs.

I stand with Planned Parenthood and have opposed efforts to defund this critical service. My opponent has said that he’s “rabidly pro-life” and has said that banning abortion is the most important issue in America.

I believe that the federal government can and should do more to invest in our students and schools by increasing K-12 funding, as well as affordable higher education opportunities. My opponent has consistently said that “the whole public-school system is child abuse” and that he thinks “public schools should be abolished.”

I am actively working in Congress to advance plans and programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, and address the dangers of a changing climate. My opponent believes that climate change is a myth and we should “Burn the coal fields” because we would benefit from the increase in carbon dioxide.

My opponent believes chronic radiation is good for your health.

I don’t.

Robinson: The main difference between Mr. DeFazio and myself, as I have said, is his lack of real-world experience and the fact that he doesn’t really want to solve problems, he wants to benefit from them.

He believes that big government can solve every problem by creating another tax. He has been more concerned with getting re-elected than in addressing the issues that Oregonians care about. He did nothing to save our timber industry when he had the chance.

He got money for the counties and did nothing to keep the industry alive. He did not solve the problem, he figured out how to benefit from the problem.

Every election he has given speeches to fix the VA (Veterans Affairs). He has someone at his office take calls from vets needing help and he helps those individuals that call his office.

The problems our VA Department has could be fixed simply by issuing a medical card for all veterans. That card could be used at any medical facility, anywhere in the country. But he hasn’t done that because he doesn’t want to fix the problem, he just wants to get votes.


Please share anything else you feel is important for our readers to know about this election:

DeFazio: This is the most important election of our lifetime. I hope I have earned your vote for U.S. Representative to return to Congress and continue fighting for our shared priorities and values.

Robinson: We need to elect someone that has a fresh perspective on the problems that we face. It is also important to build on the positive steps made by President Trump and send individuals to the House of Representatives that will work with the president to implement his reform agenda.

I just want to say two words that are very popular across the country: “Term limits.”

There is a point where a congressman becomes unproductive, ineffective and complacent and I believe that Mr. DeFazio has reached that point.

Both Robinson and DeFazio are firm supporters of a strong educational component in the communities they serve. Robinson believes in school choice and home schooling as alternatives to the traditional government centered education program.

DeFazio has taken a different course, embracing the university system by channeling approved congressional pay raises into a scholarship fund for his constituents.