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Marion County Republicans is stepping into the arena in time for the May elections. For partisan races, this election allows Republican and Democrat voters to select the candidates who will carry the party's banner in the November general election. Oregon's primary elections are closed, meaning that one must be registered in one of the two parties to receive a party ballot. While those registered in another party or as non-affiliated are locked out of the party primary, they will receive a ballot limited to non-partisan contests and questions put to the voters by popular initiative or government. Non-partisan races are decided at this election unless no candidate in the contest receives the requisite 50% + 1 minimum majority vote. In that case the two receiving the most votes go on to the November general election.
Per our by-laws, the Marion County Republican Central Committee has voted to support and endorse "Republicans and others who advance Republican interests seeking to serve Marion County and its communities in elective office." The candidates listed here have our full confidence and we heartily encourage you to vote for them as they appear on your ballot.
Despite voting for President Trump in 2016 and Knute Buehler in 2018, voters in the district continue to send the Democrat incumbent back to Washington, DC. Marion County Republican Amy Ryan Courser aims to bring that hegemony to an end. Amy brings a good range of experience in both government and business that provide context to her pledge to bring new vision to Congress representing the voters of the district. She served four years on Keizer's City Council and, as an owner of two businesses, has been active in the Chambers of Commerce of both Salem and Keizer. "My campaign is built around the belief that doing the right thing for voters is defined by having the courage to speak up on behalf of the right principles and the wisest courses of action — bipartisan or not."
Since her first term in the Oregon House in 2005 Sen. Kim Thatcher has tirelessly pushed to make government more transparent. This work began to bear fruit as early as 2007 when she spearheaded the development and launch of the Oregon Transparency in Government web site as a member of the House Government Accountability and Information Technology Committee. Consistent with her work to limit the scope and power of government, she has been an outspoken critic of current state policies involving illegal immigration, taxation, regulation, and spending. It's almost as if she were anticipating the day she would take this next natural step in her political vocation. "I believe . . . that every elected official in Oregon must be accountable, transparent, and honest with taxpayers."
Even though he was the only candidate truly qualified by job experience for the job, Jeff Gudman narrowly lost to the incumbent in 2016. Even with the incumbent's four years of on-the-job training, Jeff still remains the most qualified candidate for the job. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania's (i.e. Ivy League) Wharton School of Business in 1977 with an MBA in Finance and Management. His work experience includes stints as a financial analyst for Hyster Corp. and treasurer for several subsidiaries of NW Natural. He is the past Treasurer of the Legacy Emanuel Foundation and USA Olympic Swimming. He just completed two terms on the Lake Oswego City Council and has held leadership positions in several civic and philanthropic organizations.
Marion County Republican Fred Girod is a popular senator who is doing an excellent job representing the interests of rural Linn, Marion, and Clackamas counties. He is seeking his fourth four-year term and district voters should have no misgivings about encouraging him to serve. The district, once dubbed "the helicopter district", stretches from Donald, along the northernmost Marion-Clackamas County line all the way to Sweet Home in southern Linn County. Sure to be a target of those who believe that the only way Republicans can represent their districts is by staying in Salem to let the majority Democrats run rough-shod over them, passing dangerous legislation over their futile "No" vote, Sen. Girod certainly will not be "phoning in" this campaign.
Promoted to the Senate upon the passing of Sen. Jackie Winters last year, Marion County Republican Sen. Denyc Boles must face the voters of the district to complete the late senator's term. Although she took office right at the end of the long session, missing out on the denial of quorum by the Senate Republicans, she was ready to go when all Republicans in the legislature doubled down during this year's short session to deny quorum in both chambers: "It's always worth it when you stand up to a situation that you believe is unfair, is punitive, is an overreach of legislative power." She, too, will be targeted by those who think government needs more power to override our Constitution and destroy our way of life. We mustn't let them succeed.
Apparently not afraid of controversy following twice denying Democrats in the Senate quorum as well as drawing their ire for speaking his mind in defense of the action, Marion County Republican (Polk County, too) Sen. Brian Boquist is seeking his fourth term in the upper chamber. Of all the senators here, Brian has drawn the most attention; four Democrats are vying for the opportunity to take him down in November. Although he has faced criticism from fellow conservatives over some his votes, his no-nonsense approach in the face of Capitol political intrigue makes him an invaluable asset. Utilizing his extensive military and U.S. State Dept. contracting background, he issued a scathing critique of Democrat Cap and Trade scam legislation in March that is a true "must-read" item.
Six-term incumbent Marion County Republican Rep. Sherrie Sprenger announced after the end of the 2019 short session that she would not seek another term in the Oregon House. Instead, she will turn her attention to Linn County as a candidate for the Board of County Commissioners.
The district has been considered a safe Republican seat since 2002, the first election following the 2001 redistricting process. The Republican candidate typically received upward of 70% of the votes cast in each November general election.
Six Republicans filed to compete for the opportunity to continue the conservative legacy of the district. Marion County Republicans has extended its support to four of the candidates. Naturally, voters can choose only one when filling out their ballot. Use the brief introductions provided here to examine more carefully and deeply the candidates as you narrow your selection field. Any one of these four will represent the district in the House in a way that will make district residents proud. The candidates bring their own strengths and skills to the campaign; we encourage all voters to look past the glitz of the campaign trappings to examine each candidate so that you can be confident you have made the best choice.
Perhaps best known for her directorship of the famous Lebanon Strawberry Festival, Jami Cate is making her initial foray into elective politics. But don't let her youthfulness and ready, big smile fool you. She is a fierce competitor and is wise to the international impact Oregon agriculture commands. From running the family grass-seed operation to representing the Oregon Tall Fescue Commission at a trade show in Kentucky she demonstrates great business acumen as well as passion for agriculture. On the political front, she easily holds her own in any discussion on issues ranging from CO2 emissions and restrictions deigned to protect the environment, gun control, and education to taxes and spending.
Susan Coleman's Oregon roots go all the way back to 1847, while her family roots trace back to (2nd) President John and Samuel Adams, both signers of the Declaration of Independence. Family ties to Sweet Home go back four generations — her mother was born there — so agreeing with her husband, Matt, to accept the call to pastor Hillside Fellowship in Sweet Home was a no-brainer. A long history of civic and church involvement culminated in her election to the Sweet Home City Council in 2016. For her last term in the House, Susan served as Rep. Sherrie Sprenger's legislative assistant. Every day she witnessed what it was like to be in the super minority. It is not a fate she would wish on her worst enemy.
Mayor, business owner, school board member, member of Opal Creek Recreational Area advisory council, and founding director of the regional economic development council, Marion County Republican Tim Kirsch now hops to be the next Representative for District 17. Pledging principled leadership that is honorable, ethical, and balanced, Tim can draw on his 16 years of experience as Mayor of Mill City; eight terms, not consecutive though. City residents had to draft him to return to City Hall after two years of "retirement". Tim is endorsed by Santiam Canyon logging firms and all three Marion County Commissioners, as well as, apparently, Danielle Bethell (on the left in the photo), candidate to succeed Commissioner Sam Brentano.
Inspired by the sudden impact of Timber Unity and encouraged by former HD 17 legislator Jeff Kropf, Marion County Republican Scott Sword stepped out of retirement to seek the seat. Having served as a Councilor and Mayor of Vernonia prior to moving to Marion County in 1994 to run the family logging business, Scott is not a newbie to the rough-and-tumble of politics. While running and, after 2001, owning Sword Logging, he served on a number of boards and committees in Silverton, including City Council, as well as Willamette Education Service District. Even though endorsed by Timber Unity, he pledges, "As a community-first representative, I will vote for the people in my district, not special interests, and stay focused on the issues that matter most."
After serving a 40-year career in law enforcement following graduation from the University of Wyoming with a degree in criminal justice, Rep. Rick Lewis is now in a second career in law creation. Seeking his third term, he seems to have settled in quite nicely. More so than many of his colleagues, Rep. Lewis understands what it's like to live under the laws created under the dome. How much better would life be here if lawmakers emulated the golden pioneer that tops the dome? Rep. Lewis decries the obsession that seems to consume the Democrats to regulate every aspect of our lives. Topping his list of issues concerns jobs and the economy, of which he says: "We need to work to ensure that small businesses . . . are protected against over-regulation in order to allow them to thrive and keep jobs."
Although appointed just last year, like her predecessor, Rep. Raquel Moore-Green is actually not new to the legislature. She was legislative aide to Sen. Winters at the time of her death. Prior to that she had run campaigns for then-Rep. Kevin Cameron. She was sworn in at the end of the 2019 session following the promotion to the Senate of then-Rep. Denyc Boles. With the Democrats turning this 80th Assembly into a hot mess, both legislators had to quickly gear up for the 2020 session in their new offices. Stemming from her assignment to the House Committee on Health Care, Rep. Moore-Green extended her first legislative year on the Joint Special Committee on Coronavirus Response. Check our newsletters section for her updates on the outbreak.
Fresh off her husband's 2016 campaign for governor, Selma Pierce decided to take up her mother's challenge: "You should run." She recounts, "Mom and Dad were always encouraging me to get out there and do something useful.” Mrs. Pierce, a retired dentist, has long been deeply involved in her community, including stints on the Chemeketa (CC) Foundation Board and the Oregon Community Foundation reviewing applications for grants. During her husband's campaign the two were almost always seen together as she spoke on his behalf at campaign events and for TV and radio spots. She managed his social media outreach, as well. Her husband is now gladly paying her back by switching roles as they continue on the campaign trail together.
He's back. Marion County Republican Jack Esp is not one to back down from a political challenge. In 2018 he accepted the challenge to run against the popular and entrenched incumbent. With virtually no money or backing, he garnered 7,632 votes (36%) in this heavily Democrat district. Mr. Esp is a retired executive of companies providing financial management to hospitals. He has extensive background examining government intrusion into the healthcare field, having led teams for Oregon Citizens Lobby analyzing healthcare and other related legislation. Over the last six years he has had a hand in analyzing more than 200 bills as well as lobbying on behalf of OCL during session. He now seeks the opportunity to have his hand in writing some decent legislation.
New Marion County Republican Anna Kasachev, while new to political activism, is not a shrinking violet by any means. Her call to arms among her Russian Old Believer community against mandatory vaccination (HB 3063 - 2019) launched one of the most successful citizen lobbying efforts in recent history. Her leadership encouraged others to action and set her on a course pointing toward the legislature. Her community is firmly behind her. That is a big deal, especially with so many registering to vote for the first time. She admits that she is not a politician. Yet she understands that it is better to be right on the principle than the issues. "I believe that the diverse communities in Woodburn, Gervais, Brooks, and Salem are united in the desire for the protection of their rights, however they are expressed."
One can suppose that with margins of victory approaching 2-1, district voters have made it quite clear that they appreciate and admire the unequivocal, no-nonsense approach to Oregon politics Rep. Mike Nearman takes; they have no desire to reverse course. Having recently assumed the leadership of the Oregon office of Freedom Foundation, many more will be able to appreciate his approach. He makes it clear, both through his voting record and issue advocacy, that he firmly holds to the principles of small, limited government, summing it up thus: "What makes our country great is the great freedoms we enjoy. It seems that more and more, our governments at all levels want to deny us freedom, tax us more, and spend excessively. I choose to stand for freedom for all the citizens of Oregon."
In his first three terms in the legislature, Marion County Republican Rep. Bill Post has established quite a reputation as he competed with Rep. Nearman to cast the most "No" votes. Being outspoken must come naturally for Rep. Post; after all, how else does one make a living at being a radio talk host? His political activities and decisions stand on three immutable principles: Personal responsibility; Individual freedom: Limited government. "I am not asking for another term to serve you because I think we need more laws . . . . I believe that Oregonians, when freed from excessive government regulations and taxation, will have better opportunities to thrive. That's why I've focused on being a voice of accountability to the one-party rule in Salem.
No doubt about it, Marion County Republican (well, Clackamas County) Rep. Christine Drazan wasted no time in her first term. Resolving an apparent disagreement over 2020 campaign strategy, the House Republican caucus took the unusual step of replacing their leadership team last September. They installed Rep. Drazan into the leader's position, replacing Rep. Carl Wilson. During the short session, the new leader and caucus joined Senate Republicans in vacating the Capitol to prevent passage of the Democrat Cap and Scam scheme of new taxes. This would make her the obvious #1 target for ouster this November. Two Democrat women are vying for that opportunity. It remains unclear how effective that can be given the registration advantage Republicans enjoy.
Marion County Republicans is excited to endorse Danielle Bethell in her quest to succeed Commissioner Sam Brentano, who is retiring after 16 years of service. Last year we endorsed her in her bid to replace Chuck Lee on the Salem-Keizer School District Board. As Executive Director, Danielle has helped the Keizer Chamber of Commerce grow to become one of the most actively pro-business chambers in the state. In addition to being unapologetically pro-business, she is an advocate for community, whether that be Keizer, Salem-Keizer schools, or Marion County. She will bring her hands-on, active-listening approach to the commission as the three members strive to address the issues so that county residents can thrive. There are two Democrats competing to take her on.
Long-time councilor Brad Nanke is willing to serve another term. Salem is better for it. His impact even extends far beyond Salem. In February, Brad received the 2020 Gwen VanDenBosch Regional Leadership Award service on the council. The award goes each year to a person in Marion, Polk, or Yamhill County who demonstrates outstanding leadership in local or regional government. As a current member and past president of the Board of Directors for the League of Oregon Cities, he has represented Salem and the State of Oregon across the United States. His continual focus, though, is Salem. "We have come a long way, but the recent challenges of homelessness, the denial of the third bridge, and new city taxes are at the forefront of my mind."
Two years ago too many conservative Salemites failed to take the non-partisan portion of the May ballot seriously enough, allowing progressives to complete their takeover of Salem politics. In the hopes that it is not already too late, we need to return the favor. Ward 7 is a great place to start. Reid Sund is a young, family-oriented, articulate conservative running for the seat currently occupied by recently-appointed Vanessa Nordyke. In October the progressives on the Council prevailed 7-2 in choosing her over Reid. Now the voters of the ward will get their say. Reid is the Financial Director for Salem Health, the city's largest employer. He has been a member of the city's Budget Committee for the last four years. "I believe in transparent metrics that we can all agree will help us achieve our goals."