As of Tuesday, May 1, 2018
Patrick Starnes, an Independent Party candidate for governor, hopes to cut big money out of the campaign finance equation.
A school board member and cabinetmaker from Brownsville, Starnes is raring to face off with candidates from Oregon’s largest parties, Democrat and Republican.
He spent this week visiting smaller communities in Oregon, including Hood River and The Dalles, hearing about the issues they confront. On his way through the Columbia Gorge, he stopped at Hood River News to discuss his candidacy.
“The big reason I’m running is getting the big money out of politics, on both sides. Not just corporate money but also other special interest money,” Starnes said.
Starnes has limited his individual donations to $100 per person, he said, striving to cut large donations from campaigning.
“Then we can have an honest discussion about issues and reforms without all the strings attached,” he said.
Education funding and the natural resource economy come up as his driving issues. Starnes, who grew up in Lookingglass, near Roseburg, served on Douglas Education Service District and McKenzie School Board.
He has been woodworker for more than 30 years, and a school board member for a decade-plus, he said.
“Being on school boards, you see folks kicking that can down the road, like PERS (Public Employee Retirement System) and health care reform. These things never get resolved because big money on both sides have sort of created a stalemate.”
On manufacturing jobs, Starnes’ website touts a dedication to woodworking industry: “We can build more finished wood products, manufactured in Oregon rather than shipping raw materials out of the state by removing barriers to, and providing incentives for, local businesses.”
Starnes said he would appoint a non-partisan commission within his first 100 days in office to address campaign finance reform, seeking to assure state lawmakers to follow suit in limiting campaign donations.
“I support the freedom of speech … it’s the volume. They’re drowning out the little folks,” he said.
He said Oregon ranks 49th in the country on campaign money, and he’d like it to become one of the leaders.
Addressing the Independent platform, Starnes stated 38 percent of Oregonians aren’t affiliated with a major party.
He said he hears in communities, “They’re not happy with either party — Pepsi and Coke I call them.
“As an Independent, I’m running for all votes, both conservative and liberal, because on both sides not everybody’s happy with the front-runners,” he said, referring specifically to candidates Kate Brown and Knute Buehler.
The 2018 Primary election will be held May 15.