Noble Chooses Congress

This piece is adapted from articles that originally appeared across Pamplin Media publications and in the Statesman-Journal Thursday, 9 December 2021 under the bylines Dillon Mullan and Connor Radnovich, respectively.

Noble, a Republican state representative from Carlton, served as chief of police in McMinnville from 2006 to 2014.

Rep. Ron NobleState Representative Ron Noble announced a bid for the Republican nomination for Oregon's new congressional district on Wednesday, December 8.

The Sixth Congressional District, which includes all of Yamhill and Polk counties and parts of Marion, Clackamas and Washington counties, was created after Oregon gained a seat thanks to population increases measured in the 2020 Census. The district lines were set by the legislature during a special session held in September.

"The new map is diverse. I grew up in Polk County and spent a lot of time in Salem. Even though it's a mixture of the mid-Willamette Valley's rural and agricultural areas and the high-tech parts of Washington County, the campaign is really just a matter of getting out there and talking to people."

Noble served as chief of police in McMinnville from 2006 to 2014. He had started his law enforcement career in Benton County in 1986,  spending 18 years with the Corvallis Police Department. He was elected to to the Oregon House when the District 24 seat came open in 2016. He won that election and each of the next two with at least 55% of the vote.

He hopes that his electoral successes in the Oregon House will translate into similar results in the contest for Congress. Pacific University professor Jim Moore notes that whenever a seat in Congress, whether in the House or Senate, opens up, state lawmakers usually have the best chance of success. They have built-in campaign advantages from previous fundraising contacts along with greater name recognition. Their experience in the legislature also tends to result in more success in DC, he says.

Noble regards his major accomplishments in Salem sponsoring a 2018 bill that requires prescription drug manufacturers to publicly report drug prices, as well as the costs of development and marketing, and a 2021 bill that requires mental healthcare providers who assess minors at imminent and serious threat of attempting suicide to disclose relevant information to parents or guardians and engage in safety planning.

"Drug prices have gone down or at least not gone up like they were prior to the bill," Noble said. "During the pandemic, isolation and suicidal thoughts and behavior and addiction have been on the rise, so we added some support for youth in crisis. I'm proud of both of those bills."

In becoming a candidate for the new Congressional District seat, Noble expressed his concern over the increasing volume and rancor in partisan debate. One of his goals is to bring more of what he describes as "a listening attitude" to policy discussions and constituent services if elected in November. That goal will likely serve whoever wins, given the nearly even split in registration between Democrats and Republicans in the district. Although experts give a slight edge to Democrats, they acknowledge it is not nearly as strong an advantage as it is in the other western Oregon districts. They can't discount Republicans' chances, especially if they enjoy a strong national environment in 2022. The Congressional Republican campaign arm (NRCC) has targeted the two Willamette Valley districts, 5 and 6, along with CD 4 in southern Oregon, believing all three are ripe for pickups.

Noble points out that the registration split compares favorably to that of his Oregon House district. Anchored in Yamhill County, it reaches the southern edges of Aloha and Hillsboro in Washington County. It, too, leans Democrat. "In some ways, it's easier for me to operate in a district that is evenly split than one that leans strongly one way or the other," he says. "It gives me an opportunity to really listen to all voices and represent the collective."

His task is to serve everyone in the district. He balances that against the understanding that government is not the end-all or be-all in the lives of his constituents. "Government should only be big enough to carry out its duties and not bigger. I want better government, I don't necessarily want bigger government," he says. "Yet I know that we need to take care of those that have been marginalized and those that need a hand up."

He wants to remind the folks in Washington that the people of Oregon can take care of themselves, thank you very much.

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