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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 Republicans competed for the opportunity to succeed departing Rep. Sherrie Sprenger, who is seeking election to the Linn County Board of Commissioners. Political newcomer Jami Cate prevailed on the strength of hometown support. Perhaps best known for her directorship of the famous Lebanon Strawberry Festival, 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, she demonstrates great business acumen and passion for agriculture. On the political front, she easily holds her own on issues ranging from CO2 emissions and restrictions deigned to protect the environment, gun control, and education to taxes and spending.
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.
Undaunted by her loss in 2018 to the entrenched incumbent, Selma Pierce decided to step right back into the fray. 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 doing just that and is deeply involved in her community, including stints on the Chemeketa (CC) Foundation Board and the Oregon Community Foundation reviewing applications for grants. In conversations, her passion for improving K-12 education quickly becomes apparent. From increasing graduation rates to renewing focus on vocational education, she supports her passion with insight. She is endorsed by Oregon's National Federation of Independent Businesses PAC, speaking on behalf of small business owners throughout Oregon.
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.