McLeod-Skinner runs for 2nd Congressional District
One of the seven Democrats running for the 2nd Congressional District seat, currently held by U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, hails from Jefferson County.
Jamie McLeod-Skinner, 50, moved to Crooked River Ranch last July, to be closer to her mother, Marty Hall, a retired teacher, and to launch her campaign for U.S. representative.
McLeod-Skinner sees four major areas where the U.S. government could better serve its citizens: investing in both physical and social infrastructure, health care, education and safety.
Regarding physical infrastructure, she envisions partnerships between the government and private sectors. "We have a huge housing shortage in our district," she said, suggesting that the government could help with water and sewer lines. "The government can say, 'You have to keep it affordable.'"
McLeod-Skinner wants farm workers to be designated as skilled labor. "That's important for the ag community," she said. "The want work done well; that's their bread and butter."
"For me, it's looking at problems that need to be solved, and not the politics of the situation," she contined. "Democrats have focused mainly on urban areas. My frustration with Republicans is that they've been focused on big corporations and the wealthy. No one's been focused on rural communities."
As an example, McLeod-Skinner said that parties in Oregon and California spent years working on the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement, signing the agreement in 2010.
"For 10 years, the community worked on a solution; when it went to Congress, (Walden) wouldn't support it. Four small dams would have been removed. It didn't pass," she said.
On the subject of health care, McLeod-Skinner said that she understands that there were problems with the Affordable Care Act, but she would like to see a system through which everyone would have access to physical and mental health care, with cost management.
"We could save 25 percent of costs by cutting out all the multiple insurance companies out there," she said, noting that she would like to see a single-payer system. "The system is completely broken. Health care is the No. 1 cause of bankruptcy in our country. That alone says we have to do something about it."
To keep down the costs of education, McLeod-Skinner likes the idea of exchanging public service for a college or trade school education. "It would be an opportunity for people to go to school and not go into debt, and at the same time, we all benefit, because we can utilize their skills."
Under the topic of safety, she wants to see something done to address the suicide rate among veterans. "We should be helping care for those who care for us," she said.
Other "safety" items that are high on her list of priorities are addressing the opioid crisis, and school safety. "I'm a big fan of local wisdom," said McLeod-Skinner, suggesting that the government give schools block grants to improve school safety. "Folks on the ground know best how to use it. I think we can all agree we want our kids to be safer in schools."
McLeod-Skinner, who considers herself a rural Democrat, was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and lived southeast of the city in the town of Mukwonago until age 9, when her mother took a teaching job in Tanzania. Six years later, they returned, and she attended Ashland High School, graduating in 1985.
In 1992, she earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, and later, a master's degree in city and regional planning from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York — while working in the city's public works department.
In 1996, McLeod-Skinner traveled to Bosnia, just after the war had ended, to work with the International Rescue Committee managing a reconstruction project for schools and hospitals, and then spent another year and a half in Kosovo designing sanitation systems.
After returning in 1998, she ran a refugee resettlement office in San Jose, California, for several years before working as a city planner for Sunnyvale, California. While there, she successfully ran for the Santa Clara City Council and served for eight years.
In 2013, she entered law school at the University of Oregon, and earned a Juris Doctor in 2016, focusing on water and Indian law.
Before moving to CRR, McLeod-Skinner was the city manager in Phoenix, Oregon, from 2016-17.
She lives at the Ranch with her wife, Cass.