×

Warning

Failed loading XML file.
StartTag: invalid element name
Extra content at the end of the document

FONT

MORE STORIES


Candidates in May primary election discuss their backgrounds, stances on pressing issues

With Rep. Bill Kennemer's upcoming retirement, Estacada voters will have the opportunity to select a new state representative. In the May 15 primary election, Elizabeth Graser-Lindsey is the sole contestant for Democratic candidate in the race for House District 39, while Christine Drazen, Ken Kraft, John Lee and Seth Rydmark have entered the race for the Republican nomination.

The Estacada News interviewed all candidates about the issues facing House District 39, an area that includes Barlow, Barton, Beavercreek, Boring, Canby, Carus, Charbonneau, portions of Damascus and Happy Valley, Fisher Mill, Mulino, Redland and rural Oregon City along with Estacada and Eagle Creek. Answers have been edited for brevity.

Seth Rydmark

Seth Rydmark works in mental healthcare. RYDMARKHe is also a conservative grassroots activist and a Clackamas County Republican Precinct Committee Person.

ESTACADA NEWS: Why are you running for representative of House District 39?

RYDMARK: I want to run to represent the community. I know these people. I keep talking to voters who say they want to leave because they feel they're losing their Second Amendment rights, housing and taxes. This is a great state, and I don't want people to feel they have to leave.

EN: How has your previous experience prepared you for this position?

RYDMARK: I've worked in mental health for eight years. I've worked with youth, group homes, the elderly and aggressive patients. I always joke that I'm used to being kicked and punched. I think I can handle Salem just fine. I'm trained in problem solving with people with a different point of view. I know how to consider another point of view without compromising my own goals.

EN: If elected, what do you hope to accomplish during your term?

RYDMARK: I want to be able to work with everyone in the State Legislature. I am conservative and have strong convictions, but by and large there are a lot of things where we can reach across the aisle to work with the Democrats.

EN: What are the most pressing issues facing District 39, and how do you hope to address them?

RYDMARK: A strong issue that I'll emphasize is Second Amendment rights. Those have to be protected. I want to be a voice for that.

Another important issue is population growth. We're a largely rural district, but we get Portland population growth. We have to deal with housing, livability and sustainable communities that people can live in.

We need to invest in highways and more lanes. Light rail needs to go away. It's not something that's necessary. Not many people use it — 90 percent of the population drives on roads.

EN: What are the most pressing issues in the District's rural areas?

RYDMARK: We're seeing population growth in Estacada. The issue is affordability and mental health services. How do you get mental health services to rural areas? We need to address the drug epidemic and homelessness — there's been a huge spike in Clackamas County.

Christine Drazen

Christine Drazen is the director of a nonprofit organization focused on the preservation of Oregon's history and culture. DRAZENShe has also served as chief of staff to Republican speaker of the house and Republican majority leader in the Oregon Legislature, a member of the Clackamas County Planning Commission, chair of the Canby School District's Budget Committee and co-administrator of the Legislative Council on the Quality Education Model.

ESTACADA NEWS: Why are you running for representative of House District 39?

CHRISTINE DRAZEN: I really want to make a difference on behalf of the people of this district. I've seen what's going down in Salem, and it comes down to this idea that they don't hear us. The needs of this community are not the needs of downtown Portland.

EN: How has your previous experience prepared you for this position?

DRAZEN: I'm the only candidate actually prepared to begin on day one and get to work. I've seen how the Legislature works from the inside. I've helped move legislation, and I've helped kill bad legislation. My understanding of how to get things done is a quality that I bring to this role that (other candidates) don't have. Their skills are transferable, but mine are directly relevant.

EN: If elected, what do you hope to accomplish during your term?

DRAZEN: I want to work on supporting our schools. The most long term goal of mine is how to get that done. It matters to a lot of us, and it will take a lot of partners to improve. We have to work on graduation rates. I met with (Estacada School District Superintendent) Ryan Carpenter, and I'm meeting with all of the superintendents in the district, and I'm listening to the challenges that they face and the strategies that they're using. They need more support from Salem. It's not a one size fits all solution. It's really going to be individual legislators working with individual school districts.

Cap and trade is an important issue that I'm opposed to. It's bad for the people of our district specifically because we drive, and cap and trade is intended to drive up the price of fuel.

EN: What are the most pressing issues facing District 39, and how do you hope to address them?

DRAZEN: I can't emphasize graduation rates enough. If we don't have the graduation rates, we're setting ourselves up for economic distress. It ripples out and affects other areas of the community. Affordable housing is also important, and really holding taxes down so families can afford houses.

EN: What are the most pressing issues in the District's rural areas?

DRAZEN: People need to be able to work closer to where they live. They shouldn't have to live in a suburban area right off a major arterial. People should be able to live in a rural area and get jobs locally.

Ken Kraft

Ken Kraft is the Oregon State Commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and chair of the organization's Western KRAFTConference. He is a retired U.S. Army Captain and Multnomah County Sheriff's Deputy, has served on the Oregon Task Force on Military Families and is the former chairman of the Clackamas County Veterans Advisory Committee.

ESTACADA NEWS: Why are you running for representative of House District 39?

KEN KRAFT: I like the service. If you're looking for a politician or a lobbyist, go somewhere else. I'm a good common sense leader. I've spent a lifetime leading. A lot of people talk about stuff, but I've actually done it. I'm running for management and leadership, not to be a politician. I'm there to serve, make a difference and listen to the community.

EN: How has your previous experience prepared you for this position?

KRAFT: I've built businesses from the ground up, and I retired from union work. I've worked all aspects of jobs. My experience in leadership makes me uniquely qualified. I can also talk and work across the aisle. I will work with the Democrats as colleagues and hopefully fellow comrades serving our citizens.

EN: If elected, what do you hope to accomplish during your term?

KRAFT: We have to actually listen to the community and take that to Salem and make a difference. I plan on taking two terms max. This is not a career. I'm there to serve and be active, get in there, and root around to the issues. I'll be out there seeing the public, listening and learning.

EN: What are the most pressing issues facing District 39, and how do you hope to address them?

KRAFT: Students coming out of high school or trade school should have the opportunity for a starting wage job. If they want to do college, trade school or military, those doors should be open. That's the future of District 39.

We also need to uphold the Second Amendment. It's written, it's done, it's a matter of law. Oregon needs judicial review. Some of the things that have been put out are one-sided and skewed.

EN: What are the most pressing issues in the District's rural areas?

KRAFT: Veterans and elderly need to have transportation. We need to make sure that the grandma who just got out of surgery can get to the doctor, or veterans who need PTSD care have transportation. We need planning and community involvement.

John Lee

John Lee is the treasurer of the Oregon Republican Party and CEO of Stumptown Sales Success, a consulting firm focusing on business growth. He's served as the LEEClackamas County Republican Party Chairman, Vice-Chair and Precinct Committee Person. He is also the treasurer of the Boring CPO and has served on the Boring Water District Board and the Wilsonville Budget Committee.

ESTACADA NEWS: Why are you running for representative of House District 39?

JOHN LEE: (When Bill Kennemer announced he was retiring, he called) and asked me if I had ever considered running. I talked to a lot of people and decided I should. My father was the mayor of San Mateo, Calif., three times, and he had said there comes a point in your life when it's no longer about you. It's about helping people.

EN: How has your previous experience prepared you for this position?

LEE: I've actually been on a ballot, and my endorsements are people I've helped get elected.

I've signed the front and back of a check. I'm a small business guy, and having that experience means a lot. I understand how laws affect small businesses.

EN: If elected, what do you hope to accomplish during your term?

LEE: We need to repeal the small business tax for health care. Large corporations and unions don't pay it. We need to be discussing that. If I could wave a magic wand, I would love to see us look at term limits for the state House and Senate.

EN: What are the most pressing issues facing District 39, and how do you hope to address them?

LEE: PERS is the big elephant in the room throughout the state. We're all affected, but no one is willing to sit down and discuss what was agreed on.

District 39 is very conservative, and Multnomah County is very liberal. Multnomah County and the Democrats are are shoving issues and ideas down the state's throat that don't deal with rural Clackamas County. It's a very urban agenda.

EN: What are the most pressing issues in the District's rural areas?

LEE: Estacada and Canby are really looking at tourism as a way to be a destination. Estacada is a beautiful city surrounded by beautiful country. If we bring more people there to stop instead of just driving through, that means tourism dollars and people getting to know us better — who we are and what we think.

Elizabeth Graser-Lindsey

Elizabeth Graser-Lindsey works as a farmer and community volunteer and has a background in agricultural research. She has served as the speaker and corresponding secretary for the Hamlet of Beavercreek and has been a member of many Clackamas County committees, including ones focused on transportation system plan, traffic safety, and the Beavercreek Road Concept Plan.

ESTACADA NEWS: Why are you running for representative of House District 39?

GRASER-LINDSEY: I've worked for the community for over 20 years. I've worked on land use, transportation and keeping the area from getting congested and ensuring growth doesn't badly impact District 39. Someone needed to run, and serving is what I do.

EN: How has your previous experience prepared you for this position?

GRASER-LINDSEY: I've done quite a bit over the years. I've been on quite a few committees. I've really watched the process of how the urban growth boundary is set. I've helped the (Beavercreek) Hamlet in trying to get the county to get our roads up to standard.GRASER-LINDSEY

EN: If elected, what do you hope to accomplish during your term?

GRASER-LINDSEY: I'm interested in land use and transportation. The other particular area of interest is the environment. I've been quite attentive to climate change, and I've noticed how it affects our local area and has cost taxpayers money to deal with. It makes sense for us to use money to prevent (effects of climate change) rather than repair them.

I'm also interested in solving the problem of recycling regulations by China by doing more local recycling. We need more local jobs, so it makes sense of have local recycling.

Healthcare is another important issue. Some people have really good programs, and some have super high deductibles. They have medical insurance, but they really don't have medical access.

EN: What are the most pressing issues facing District 39, and how do you hope to address them?

GRASER-LINDSEY: People struggle to get around in this district with the traffic disaster. The other thing concerning about this district is the lack of local jobs. The whole county has a shortage of jobs. I would like to see the job problem addressed, so people don't have to drive to them through incredibly terrible traffic.

EN: What are the most pressing issues in the District's rural areas?

GRASER-LINDSEY: People need to be able to have successful businesses. If small businesses rise, they contribute back to the economy. McMinnville has a program that pairs students as interns with businesses, and there would be similar value in Estacada.

Contract Publishing

Go to top
Template by JoomlaShine