Four Republican candidates are running in the May 17 primary to become members of the Oregon House of Representatives for District 12, an area that was mostly in District 7 before the redistricting that will take effect in 2023. The representative from District 12 John Lively, D-Springfield, is moving to District 7 due to state redistricting. There is no incumbent in this race as District 7 Rep. Cedric Hayden, a Republican, is running for the Oregon Senate instead.
Since Michelle Emmons of Oakridge is the only Democrat to file, there is only one primary for the four Republicans.
House District 12 serves the eastern part of Lane County including Dexter, Lowell, Cottage Grove, Creswell, Pleasant Hill, Jasper, Leaburg, Blue River, Marcola, Coburg, Junction City, Cheshire and parts of southeastern Eugene.
Charlie Conrad, who lives in Dexter and works as an operations supervisor for the Lane Events Center, said he has wanted to run for public office for 30 years.
For much of his career, Conrad worked in law enforcement, first as a correctional officer with the Lane County Sheriff’s Office, then as an officer with the Springfield Police Department for 14 years old.
Key issues Conrad wants to work on in the Legislative Assembly include improving public safety, ensuring there are enough patrol deputies at all times, and securing funds for the jail and the office of the district attorney. He was also interested in strengthening education in the district and helping local businesses.
He noted that it’s important for Republicans to be able to work across the aisle with Democrats since they’re in the minority, but stressed a desire to lead the state back to more conservative policies.
“The small business regulations and some of the other regulations that have been imposed on us over the past few years need to be dropped,” he said. “We need to bring this process, this philosophy back to a more conservative approach.”
Nicole De Graff, a former farmer who owns an agritourism business, said she wanted to run for office because she sees “unprecedented problems in society, education and a lack of credibility in government, and think I can come up with some good solutions.”
“Public safety, homelessness, excessive government mandates and education” were all topics De Graff said she wanted to focus on and indicated she would like to be assigned to the education committee. of State.
Deadlocks between parties in the state government were another issue she said she would want to resolve if elected.
“Restricting personal freedoms, prioritizing a woke curriculum over educational fundamentals, and overtaxing Oregonians, doesn’t work,” she said in an email to The Register-Guard.
De Graff, who resides in Springfield, is a former school board member and has political experience through his involvement with the local Republican central committee and served as executive director of a nonprofit and political action committee that worked to guarantee parental and medical rights. She noted that she feels her past work in real estate and volunteer experience gave her the skills “to fight for my community.”
“I’ve done the advocacy work for good policy before and I’m good at it,” she said. “I have a heart for families and enjoy helping my community stay informed.”
Cottage Grove Mayor Jeff Gowing said local businesses were the first to suggest he run for state government, and although he initially laughed at the idea, he said that He then saw issues he wanted to address in the Legislative Assembly, such as the housing crisis, a need to improve economic growth and address homelessness.
“There’s a real lack of local government representation on Capitol Hill, people who are in power don’t know how local governments work, and they’re adopting policies and procedures, which are universal, and I just don’t like not that,” Gowing told The Register-Guard. “What works in Portland doesn’t work in Klamath Falls.”
Gowing joined Cottage Grove City Council in 2009 and was elected mayor in 2016, having served three terms. He has worked for Weyerhaeuser in Cottage Grove since 1989 and currently works as a millwright.
If elected, Gowing said he would make government his full-time job and prioritize visiting different communities to listen to voters. He added that he thinks the experience as mayor will help him in state government, having developed relationships and knowing how to connect with communities.
“It’s about getting to know people, and that’s how I’ve succeeded as mayor is that I sit down most weekend nights, I go to the local breweries, and people know me, and they come and tell me what’s on their mind,” he says.
Bill Ledford, who is retired and lives outside of Coburg with his wife and daughter, said he was considering leaving Oregon because he believed the state had deteriorated and he was tired of the government being dominated by Democrats, but instead decided to stay and run. Office.
Ledford said some of the main issues he wants to address are homelessness and government overrepresentation. One change he wants to pursue is to make the state pay to help cities tackle homelessness instead of placing the burden on cities.
“The state now has laws that require cities to (address homelessness), and I think the state should be responsible for paying for that,” Ledford said. “Cities don’t have the money to pay for that.”
Ledford said he also had a problem with the amount of free services and goods offered by cities and organisations, noting that he thinks there should be a requirement for people to attend treatment programs with whatever is given if they suffer from drug addiction.
“I think with any gift given to a homeless person, there has to be a program to get them off drugs, and I think drugs are the most important thing for homeless people,” Ledford said. .
Ledford also mentioned fighting gun restrictions and said he opposes recent state policies that he sees as government overreach, such as having to pay farm workers one and a half times their rate of pay for overtime.
Louis Krauss covers breaking news for The Register-Guard. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @LouisKraussNews.