Election 2018: State Senate Dist. 52, Rep. Jeff Helfrich and Anna Williams

Rep. Jeff Helfrich

Why are you running?

As a father of two young children, I care about the future of our community and our state. I believe there is so much more that can be done to improve our schools, support our local economy, ensure families have access to affordable housing and keep our communities safe.

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Rep. Jeff Helfrich

How are you qualified for the position?

I’ve devoted my entire adult life to public service. I spent over 25 years in law enforcement, as well as several years as a member of the U.S. Air Force. I also spent time serving on the Cascade Locks City Council and on the Mid-Columbia Economic Development District Board.

What are the top three issues facing the district or state in the next two years?

Investing in our schools by working to boost our high school graduation rate and ensure that students, parents and teachers have the resources they need to be successful.

Keeping our communities affordable by protecting residents from harmful tax increases and supporting policies that will relieve pressure from our local and statewide housing crisis.

Growing our economy, particularly in our rural areas, and attracting more stable and good-paying jobs to our communities.

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

I’m working on several concepts for the 2019 legislative session. One of my top priorities is a bill that would lift the statute of limitations on sexual assault and rape crimes. There should not be a clock on justice involving these horrific crimes.

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

Regardless of who is in the governor’s office, we need leaders who are going to show up and do what is best for their community, regardless of party affiliation. We can’t let petty partisan politics get in the way of addressing the serious challenges facing our state.

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

Healthcare: Every Oregonian deserves the dignity of being able to visit the doctor and receive the care they need when they are sick.

Climate change: We live in one of the most beautiful regions in the entire world, let alone the state. We must protect our environment for future generations.

PERS — specifically, how should the state address the impact on local agencies’ budgets: There is no one-size-fits-all approach to this crisis at the local level. We need partners at the state level that are willing to help.

Social services funding: I will work to preserve the social safety net while also working to ensure that taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely.

Education funding: Our children deserve a world-class education system. I will fight to (finally) fully fund our schools.

Education performance: We have some excellent teachers in our schools. By investing more in them, I believe they will be able to do more for our kids.

Infrastructure funding: We need to maintain and improve our infrastructure so that our communities remain safe and accessible, especially in the event of an emergency.

Anna Williams

Why are you running?

As a social worker, I see some of the biggest challenges facing our community every day, in every corner of this district. I’ve rolled up my sleeves, getting to work helping seniors access care, students succeed and small businesses thrive. I’m ready to bring that experience to Salem.

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Anna Williams

How are you qualified for the position?

As a social worker, I’ve worked with state funded systems for the past decade. I’ve seen how our housing, healthcare, mental health and education systems fail families in our community. My background in non-profit management taught me how to stretch dollars and how to compromise when cuts are needed.

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

The issue people mention most is education. Our children and our economy deserve better, and we need to ensure Oregon provides high-quality public education by making our school funding process more stable and predictable. In this district, we care deeply about the environment. People are weary of summer becoming “Fire Season.” I am excited to be a rural advocate for forward-thinking environmental legislation. Last, Oregon is in a housing crisis, and the people in this district are among the most impacted in Oregon by the high costs of housing and low inventory of affordable options.

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

My goal is to work with my colleagues to ensure the laws that are passed work well for this district, regardless of who proposes them. I plan to be a strong voice for the environment, education, and addressing the high costs of housing and healthcare in our district.

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

In my experience with non-profits like Aging in the Gorge, I recognized and acted on good ideas without worrying where they came from. I’ll do the same in the legislature. I’m not running for office so I can score political points, I’m running so I can represent this community.

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

Health care: We should continue expanding Medicaid/OHP, and make it affordable and attainable for everyone. I will work to expand access for vital services to rural Oregonians.

Climate change: It’s real and it’s here. Let’s pass strong legislation that improves our climate and moves our economy into the future.

PERS — specifically, how should the state address the impact on local agencies’ budgets: I will listen to any proposal that is both fair to workers and legal. I believe the state needs to continue to offer additional financial support to local agencies and districts.

Social services funding: Include mental health in insurance, increase rural provider reimbursement rates and invest in tele-health options. Fund with cannabis taxes.

Education funding: I look forward to the work of the Joint Committee on Student Success. We should fund education first and ensure every Oregon student has the resources they need to be successful.

Education performance: Fund career and technical education, and strengthen our community colleges. Prepare youth for the jobs of tomorrow and consider well-structured partnerships with local industry.

Infrastructure funding: Our district is a world-class tourism destination. We need to invest more in responding to its impacts: Erosion, public safety, road/bridge repair, etc.



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