In the Democratic primary for US House District 4, the race intensifies, with four contenders to date. Each is hoping to replace longtime Congressman Peter DeFazio, a Democrat from Springfield.
The News-Review interviewed all four. Here is, in no particular order, what we learned about them:
Andre KallochResidence: EugÃ¨ne
Profession: Airbnb executive
Andrew Kalloch is on leave during his campaign from his role as public policy manager for Airbnb. He is also a former New York attorney and defense attorney.
And he’s co-founder of the Portland chapter of Better Angels, an organization that aims to depolarize politics and bring people from all political backgrounds together.
Kalloch thinks his chances of winning the race are good. In December, he was just “a guy with a phone, a laptop and a dream,” he said, but he still raised $ 150,000 for his campaign from The Insider. politician Val Hoyle, who raised $ 210,000 that month.
âIt suggests to me that this is a real ball game,â he said.
Kalloch is concerned about the political divide in Congress that he hopes to join.
âI think partisanship is poison for American democracy,â he said.
He thinks the Republican leaders are doing a “dangerous dance with an anti-democratic movement”.
But he also noted that Oregon Democrats have been in power for 12 years and that the state has serious problems with homelessness, drug addiction and public education.
âWe have to be humble in the face of this and approach people with respect and understanding that we must all move forward together,â he said.
âIt can’t be a blue state, a red state, a blue community, a red community. The country cannot resist this, âhe said.
Kalloch feels lucky to have been able to return to Oregon with his family. Not everyone can, due to the lack of economic opportunities, especially in rural areas.
He said that too often, establishment Democrats have traveled to rural areas of the district and told them what they cannot do instead of presenting positive, forward-looking plans for what they can do. .
Kalloch has said that if elected, one of the first bills he brings forward would be to fundamentally revamp the Opportunity Zones Tax Credit. Right now, he said, that program is so mismanaged that it has paid for the construction of a luxury hotel in Portland.
He wants that money to be invested in the places that need it most.
Kalloch also wants to support a rural tourism economy that does not turn people into minimum wage waiters, but rather becomes a “pipeline for the middle class.”
He also wants to encourage the development of technology in rural areas, making sure colleges and industries “work hand in hand to make Oregon the proving ground for the next generation of technology.”
John selkerResidence: Corvallis
Profession: professor at Oregon State University
John Selker has two reasons for running for Congress. One of them is a problem with the way many lawmakers make their decisions, based on policy rather than data.
“My feeling is that decisions made in Washington are often not informed by the people who really get the numbers,” Selker said.
Selker’s commitment to numbers is informed by his scientific background. He has been Professor of Water Resources Engineering at OSU for 30 years and President-Elect of the Hydrology Section of the American Geophysical Union.
He has worked on water resources issues on five continents. He even worked on the pear tree water resources right here in Roseburg.
The second reason for Selker’s candidacy for Congress is his mother. Lisa Selker, who died when John Selker was 12. She was a Holocaust survivor. Lisa Selker was a big supporter of President John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi, he said.
âI’ve knocked on doors with her for all kinds of things, and she just said to John, you know the greatest thing you can do is serve,â he said.
Selker said political polarization in Congress is a major concern. He plans to meet the challenge by focusing on problem solving rather than politics.
âHonestly, I have absolute faith that the people who seek to be leaders in our country are seeking to bring good things to our country,â he said. “And so that’s where I start with everyone.”
Selker grew up in the forest town of Longview, Washington. Necklaces and lumberjacks were his friends, and his father Alan Selker worked for Weyerhaeuser.
So he has some ideas on how to improve the economies of Douglas and other rural counties in District 4.
He said people are needed to go into the forests and cut up low-lying materials that create a ladder for forest fires, as well as unnecessary competition between trees.
âFirst and foremost we need to put in place laws that require people to manage forests properly, and that’s going to put a ton of people to work,â he said.
He wants to encourage Oregon farmers to grow the most profitable crops, citing the shift in the Willamette Valley from grass seed to hazelnut.
He also wants to invest in the technical education that people need.
âI’m just looking forward to a community of people who wake up in the morning and say ‘Wow, I can learn these skills’, not’ Wow, how am I going to pay for my education? “, did he declare.
Valerie hoyleResidence: Springfield
Occupation: Oregon Labor Commissioner
Val Hoyle would bring the most political experience to the role. In addition to being the current elected labor commissioner of Oregon, she is a former House Majority Leader in the Oregon Legislature.
Hoyle represented District 14, spanning West Eugene and Junction City, in the State House of Representatives from 2009 to 2017 and was Majority Leader from 2013 to 2015.
She also worked for 25 years in the private sector, mainly in the bicycle industry.
Hoyle said District 14 is very similar to District 4 in the United States in that it is a mix of liberal urban areas and conservative rural areas.
Although she said she has more campaign experience and more connections than other Democratic candidates, she is not making any predictions about the outcome of this race yet.
âI don’t take anything for granted at all,â she said.
Hoyle said there are no easy answers when it comes to solving rural economic hardships. She said too many politicians say the solution is to restore lost jobs in the lumber industry or replace them with tourism.
“None of these are realistic, quite frankly,” she said.
She wants to create new jobs in health care and the trades, and she is very keen on learning in these fields.
An apprentice ironworker can earn $ 25 an hour in his second week of training, and a power lineman can earn over $ 100,000 in four or five years of training. Young people need to be connected to these jobs, she said.
She also said investing in broadband is important to attract people who can work remotely.
She also wants to bring manufacturing back to Oregon, finding ways to get companies to keep their jobs here instead of exporting them overseas.
And it promotes the development of a deep channel container port in Coos Bay, which would create jobs, but also allow farmers in the district to ship their crops from there instead of transporting them to Long Beach, in California, or to Seattle.
Hoyle said her policies are very similar to DeFazio’s, and like him, she would handle divisions in Congress by being straightforward.
âEveryone knows where I am and I’m not afraid to fight for the district,â she said.
Zachary MulhollandResidence: EugÃ¨ne
Profession: Government relations specialist
Zachary Mulholland defines himself as a progressive candidate. He said he is availing himself of universal health care, a minimum wage of $ 15 an hour and that he is fighting the climate crisis.
Its climate change game plan includes electric vehicles, as well as heat pumps for heating and cooling homes. He agrees with President Joe Biden’s goal of 100% clean energy by 2035.
Mulholland specializes in government relations and is an entrepreneur for the environmental organization Beyond Toxics. Its goal is to improve air quality in West Eugene through reductions in emissions from industrial polluters and policies to combat climate change.
Until recently, he was also the owner of Duke’s Restaurant in Eugene, a business that did not survive the COVID-19 pandemic.
He is a past chairman of the Eugene Sustainability Commission.
Members of the Democratic precinct committee picked him as one of three candidates for a vacant position in District 7 of the State Senate covering North and West Eugene in 2016, but James Manning was appointed to the seat .
Mulholland also made an unsuccessful run for Eugene Water and Electric Board in 2018.
He has made a commitment not to accept any money from corporate PACs.
Mulholland said the political polarization in the country is of great concern to him.
He said he had good Republican friends and that he loved them.
âI know there are people on both sides who love this country and care about this country and believe in democracy and believe in democratic values,â he said.
âMy intention will be to try and build relationships across the aisle around issues of mutual importance to bring home benefits for Oregonians,â he said.
He said many people in rural Oregon feel left behind by changes in federal forest land policy.
âI want these people to know that I’ll be there for them. I will listen to them and I will try to work with them, âhe said.
He said many 21st century jobs, including tech jobs, will be distant. He wants to make sure that the residents of the Fourth District can get these jobs.
This will require major investments in rural broadband, he said.
He also cited tourism and the skilled trades as options, and said housing shortages must be addressed. He said it would also be important to figure out how to leverage Oregon university research to create new jobs, products and industries.
Alek Skarlatos of Roseburg is currently the only candidate for the Republican nomination. Jeremy Van Tress, a Republican, has withdrawn from the race.