Election 2018: State Senate Dist. 26, Chrissy Reitz and Chuck Thomsen

Chrissy Reitz

Why are you running?

As a mom, school board member and former NICU nurse, I have seen our district’s biggest challenges firsthand, and I know I’m uniquely qualified to solve them. We deserve a state senator who knows the issues that affect families, who will take action, and who is actively engaged.

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Chrissy Reitz

How are you qualified for the position?

As an active community member for years, chair of the Hood River County School Board, former nurse, and mom of two, I know we can do better to strengthen education and healthcare. These experiences give me a unique perspective into how systems are connected and must be looked at holistically.

What are the top three issues facing the District or State in the next two years?

As school board chair, I know that our state must do more to fund education. Education is a top priority for voters across our district. I also know that too many Oregonians have to make extremely difficult decisions every month — sometimes facing challenges as serious as choosing between seeing a doctor or paying rent. This signals an issue that is two-pronged and inter-connected: Healthcare must be made affordable, and all Oregonians should be covered; and housing is a basic tenet of health and livelihood. We must act to ensure that all Oregonians have a place to call home.

What would be your top priority for new legislation to propose?

We must address issues in our education system. I will look at investing more in programs that help Oregon students graduate, such as career-technical education. I am also dedicated to bringing healthcare to more students in real, tangible ways — like placing more school-based health centers in schools across the district.

What should happen in Oregon should a Republican governor take office, in terms of working with Democratic leaders?

Democrat or Republican, bipartisan efforts are critical for creating effective, well-rounded policy solutions to our state’s biggest problems. We must stop thinking in terms of party and start thinking in terms of community.

Being as specific as possible, give your stance on these topics:

Healthcare: Healthcare costs should be made transparent, and care must be affordable and accessible for all Oregonians.

Climate change: Climate change is a real threat. We must pass legislation that quickly reduces our carbon emissions in order to foster sustainability for future generations.

PERS — specifically, how should the state address the impact on local agencies’ budgets.

We must find solutions that move us forward and include the perspective of all stakeholders — including public servants who will be impacted by these decisions.

Social services funding: By providing strategic and sufficient safety net services to Oregonians with a focus on stability and well-being, we will reduce long-term, systemic costs.

Education funding: To ensure student success, education funding must be increased, stabilized and strategically invested in early childhood education, high school vocational classes and college affordability.

Education performance: To prepare students for a competitive job market, Oregon must increase graduation rates, give teachers the resources they need and bolster career-technical education programs.

Infrastructure funding: With Oregon’s growing population and aging infrastructure, the state should focus on sustainable, long-term investments for our highways, roads and bridges.

Chuck Thomsen

Why are you running?

Balance is critical for Oregon right now, and it’s precisely what I bring. Moderate Republicans in Oregon’s legislature are not easy to come by, and I know it’s needed now more than ever. I believe I’ve served Hood River County well these two terms and will continue to deliver results.

How are you qualified for the position?

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Chuck Thomsen

I was a county commissioner for 16 years, and a planning commissioner for four years before I ran for Senate. In the Senate, I’m on the Full Ways and Means, Business and Transportation, and Education Policy Committees; and Education Budget Subcommittee. I always try to look at both sides of an issue.

What are the top three issues facing the District or State in the next two years?

The critical top issue is funding education first and fully. The budget process has become a problem in that the K-12 budget is whittled away, rather than passing it early with substantial funding. We need bi-partisan support and agreement on this issue. Second, finding affordable housing and solutions to manage the homelessness issue. I will support programs that ease costs and conditions, as long as they are fair. Third, I believe we can secure more funding for local economic development. The $500,000 we secured for Cascade Locks is just the start.

What would be your top priority for new legislation to propose?

Oregon school funding was at 45 percent of the General Fund Budget 20 years ago. It has dwindled to around 39 percent, despite immense revenue growth. That gap is unacceptable, and I strongly believe we must mandate a minimum threshold of 45-50 percent for schools.

What should happen in Oregon should a Republican governor take office, in terms of working with Democratic leaders?

It would be the first time since the early 1980s. Balance is a great idea right now. Buehler would serve as a balancing force and certainly would not govern in extremes. His style in the legislature has been similar to mine — he would work with Democratic leaders.

Being as specific as possible, give your stance on these topics:

Healthcare: We must do our best to meet Oregon’s growing healthcare needs. I want to restore funds from prior cuts to senior care.

Climate change: I believe in climate change. I favor solutions that curb emissions and aren’t regressive economic policies. Costs shouldn’t be transferred to lower income earners.

PERS — specifically, how should the state address the impact on local agencies’ budgets: Existing contracts must be kept. Going forward with new employees, we should offer a 401K style retirement program like the private sector.

Social services funding: I won’t cut any social services but do ask for integrity in how agencies distribute the funds. I’ve worked extensively with the Oregon Food Bank.

Education funding: Prioritize K-12 budget to be fully funded first amongst all other agencies. I also helped to secure more Career-Technical Education funding last session.

Education performance: We need to invest in schools. Additional money to their budgets, new dollars to career-technical programs, and programs aimed at increasing attendance and graduation rates.

Infrastructure funding: Road and bridge improvements, both for traffic decongestion and disaster preparedness should be funded by the new gas tax dollars, not tolling.



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