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Three vie for District 52 spot

Feb. 4 UPDATE: A.J. Kitt has filed for County Commission Position 2.

With Oregon House District 52 on the table, three hopefuls have entered the race.

Mark Johnson (R-Hood River, incumbent), Hood River Democrat Mark Reynolds and Sandy Democrat Walt Trandum will compete on the May 17 primary election ballot. Candidates have until March 8 to file.

House District 52 encompasses Hood River, Sandy, Corbett, Estacada, and parts of Gresham.

Johnson, a legislator, contractor and third term Hood River County School District board member, has represented the region since 2010. Last year, he served on multiple legislative committees and co-sponsored the Oregon Promise affordable college bill.

“It has been an honor to serve the constituents of House District 52,” Johnson said when he announced his re-election bid. “During my legislative career, I have focused on building relationships and passing impactful legislation to increase educational opportunities for our kids, grow small businesses, and provide much needed services across our communities.”

Johnson’s most recent contested race was in 2014, when he edged Democrat opponent Stephanie Nystrom.

This round, two new faces have entered the equation — both from the opposite side of the aisle.

Reynolds filed in late January as a Democrat candidate.

Reynolds has tagged education and small business as his key legislative concerns. He is a retired Hood River Valley High School and Cascade Locks teacher who grew up in Sherman County.

“I would like to see us re-prioritize and really put education as our top priority,” Reynolds said. “As a teacher I have seen the cuts over 25 years and I just think we need to re-establish our investment in education.”

On the topic of big business, Reynolds feels small communities are being “held hostage” by tax break policies on multi-national corporations, an issue he believes could be more creatively addressed.

“I’m running to get our priorities straight. Right now, too many families are struggling to make ends meet, while corporate profits and pay for CEOs have skyrocketed,” Reynolds said in a statement. (His wife, Mary, unsuccessfully challenged Johnson for his school board seat, running as a write-in.)

Johnson and Reynolds filed for candidacy through the Oregon Secretary of State Office, but Trandum said he will be filing by petition instead of paying the agency’s filing fee.

Trandum, a life-time caregiver and self-described “Mr. Mom,” represents a group of Sandy and greater Columbia Gorge area citizens who firmly reject large campaign contributions.

“I intend to run a clean campaign, accepting campaign funds only from people living in the district, in amounts of $50 or less, per individual, per year. I will offer the voters of House District 52 an opportunity to vote big money out of their politics right now, it they want to,” Trandum said in a statement.

In 2012, Trandum’s group backed Democrat candidate Peter Nordbye, who narrowly fell to Johnson’s 52 percent of the vote. The group then struggled in 2014 to find someone who would run without accepting “big money” contributions, Trandum said.

“Left in a lurch, early last November we decided to go ahead and run me. My schedule was already cleared, as I was ramping up to be ‘all in’ on what could turn out to be the grassroots campaign of all time, so I said okay,” Trandum told the News in an email.

Openings on May 17 Primary

Rich McBride of Hood River has filed for election to Position 2 on the Hood River County Commission.

McBride said Tuesday morning that if elected, he would resign from the Hood River Port Commission. His four-year term expires in July 2017.

Three County Commission seats, including the chair position, a seat in the Oregon House, and the County Sheriff and District Attorney positions are all up for re-election on the May 17 ballot.

Here are the basics for getting involved:

  • The deadline to file is March 8
  • County Elections are located at Sixth and State streets, County Administration building
  • Phone 541-386-1442
  • Elections information, including registering to vote on-line, at www.co.hood-river.or.us
  • Filings for state offices may be done through the Secretary of State’s office

District Attorney John Sewell and Sheriff Matt English have both filed for re-election, as has Dist. 52 Rep. Mark Johnson (story, page A1) and challengers Mark Reynolds and Walt Trandum, along with Circuit Judges Janet Stauffer and John Wolf.

In a notable election change this year, under new Oregon law, anyone who registers a vehicle at Department of Motor Vehicles will be automatically registered (unless they want to opt out), as reported in our Jan. 2 edition. As many as 1,500 new voters could be on the county roles by year’s end.

Brad Lorang filed in January for Cascade Locks Justice of the Peace.

Two local judicial seats, held by John Wolf and Janet Stauffer, will be on the ballot, along with Sewell’s and English’s positions, and three of the five Hood River County Board of Commissioners posts. Maui Meyer, Position 2, announced last month he will not seek a fourth term. Chair Ron Rivers and Position 4 incumbent Les Perkins also face the choice of running again.



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