|Mid-county senate seat up for grabs
THE MID-COUNTY MEMO
You should have received your May 16th primary election ballots by the time youre reading this. Besides a county chair election, there is only one other elective office up for grabs in the Mid-county area.
Since 2000, residents living in Mid-Multnomah Countys portion of Oregon State Senate District 24 have been ably represented by Frank Shields in Salem. Due to health reasons, Shields is retiring from elective office. Rod Monroe and Jesse Cornett, two Democrats with similar political philosophies but different backgrounds, are vying to replace Shields. Voters in Senate District 24 have a clear choice here.
Monroe, a 63-year-old veteran of electoral politics, runs a property management business, has been elected to various local and state-wide positions twelve times, serving in the legislature, the Metro Board of Supervisors, and on countless nonprofit boards.
Cornett, 30, on the other hand, is a novice candidate for elective office but not a political newcomer.
Cornett took leave from his position as Oregon Secretary of State Bill Bradburys senior policy advisor and legislative liaison. Prior to joining the Secretary of States office, Cornett was campaign manager for Earl Blumenauers run for Congress, and was employed as Blumenauers district assistant. Cornett served eight years as a member of the United States Army Reserves and the Oregon Army National Guard and three years as a Multnomah County Reserve Deputy Sheriff.
Roughly the shape of a rectangle with a tab in the right corner, Oregon State Senate District 24s northern boundary is Marine Drive, from Northeast 146th to 185th avenues. The boundary then runs south to Happy Valley after jogging back west to 162nd Avenue, near Sandy Boulevard, continuing to Stark Street, then east to 174th Avenue, then south again ending at Sunnyside Road.
I-205 marks the west boundary of district 24, its southern point running from near Southeast Sunnyside Road to where I-205 meets I-84, then along the Banfield to 146th Avenue.
As the Mid-county Memo has a non-editorial endorsement policy, we ask political candidates the same question, printing their responses verbatim.
Below is the three-part question the Mid-county Memo posed to Cornett and Monroe - their answers follow.
Our unscientific poll says most Oregonians, voters or not, dont know what House or Senate district they live in, nor can they name the people who represent them in Salem.
What will you do to make yourself known to voters in this district, how will your election make a difference in their lives and in what way do you differ from your opponent?
Candidate Cornetts answer:
I strongly believe that elections are not about one person; they are about a community coming together to set the priorities for Oregon and our future. My campaign is all about reaching out to people in my district. Every day I talk to dozens of voters and my volunteers are working hard to keep up with me. From talking to so many of my neighbors, I have a really good idea of what citizens in my district want from state government.
Im running for State Senate because the voters in my district want new leadership and new ideas in Salem. My priorities are simple:
Ill fight for lower class sizes and work to drive dollars into the classroom. Its time for accountability in Salem.
Ill work hard to make sure that Oregon has a strong and vibrant economy with living-wage jobs.
I wont rest until all Oregonians have quality, affordable health care. Well have stronger families and a stronger economy.
I will stand up to special interests like the payday loan industry. Interest rates as high as 520% are crippling working people in my district at a time when they need help the most. We need to cap these interest rates and limit origination fees.
I have the energy and experience necessary to change the tone in Salem.
As a Multnomah County Reserve Deputy Sheriff, I helped keep our community safe.
In the Oregon Army National Guard I served our country and defended our democratic values.
As a Senior Policy Advisor, I worked to help Secretary of State Bill Bradbury save taxpayers millions of dollars and demand accountability from state agencies.
I differ from my opponent because I believe that the voters of my district make good choices and are fully capable of deciding who will represent them in Salem. My opponent tried to cut the voters out of the process, and that is not acceptable.
Oregon can do better and together, we will. I would be honored to earn your vote on May 16th. Thank you so much for your time.
Candidate Monroes answer:
As a lifelong educator, I have strived to train future voters about the importance of their state and local government. While teaching civics at the High School and College level, I always required my students to learn who their legislative representatives were. Often I would invite legislators in as guest speakers so that my students could meet and interact with them as real people. As a State Representative and State Senator, I visited government classes in my district. I also held regular town hall meetings on Saturday mornings. These meetings were well attended and allowed constituents to give their opinions about what was going on in Salem. I have always included my home phone number in the Voters Pamphlet and all campaign literature to encourage personal contact. In recent years I have added our e-mail address. I have supported the idea of regular legislative newsletters as an important way for people to get to know their representatives.
The best way for voters to get to know their representatives is to meet them on the doorstep during door-to-door canvassing. As a former geography teacher, I believe that including a map of the district in newsletters and other publications can help voters identify with their district. Small rural newspapers do a much better job of reporting on their legislators than major city newspapers where local candidates often get lost in the shuffle of city life and scandal.
What I will do to make myself known to voters is to show up at their doorsteps, introduce myself and encourage all my constituents to communicate their concerns about our neighborhood and our State through this campaign.
If I am different from my opponent, it is that I have lived in this neighborhood and in Oregon for many decades. I know my neighbors and a great number of my neighbors know me through my years of service as an elected official, a Democratic Party precinct person, a community servant, and a teacher. I will bring that connectedness with me to Salem and maintain it through my term in the legislature.