An Aloha man has thrown his hat into the ring for King City and Sherwood politics.

Eric Squires — a longtime advocate for the Aloha area — has filed to run for Oregon’s House District 26.

The far reaching house seat stretches from the Aloha and Reedville area south through unincorporated Washington County and into Bull Mountain, King City, Sherwood and Wilsonville.

Squires is the only Democrat on the ticket for the May primary, moving him along to the general election where he will take on Republican incumbent John Davis.

SquiresSquires, 46, has spent years working to improve the Aloha community. He played a role in opening the Aloha Community Library, helped found the Aloha Historical Society and served as chairman of Aloha’s Citizen Participation Organization for seven years before resigning in October.

Squires was elected president of the Washington County Public Affairs Forum in 2013.

Squires said his No. 1 reason for running for public office was to provide voters with a choice.

“There was no one running against Davis until I filed, and now the voters have a choice,” he said.

Squires opposes House Bill 4078, a bill that expanded the urban growth boundary and established new urban and rural reserves in the county that was passed into law this year.

That bill was sponsored by Davis, and Squires said it wasn’t well received in rural Washington County. “It triggered a lot of consternation among folks that shepherd land-use issues,” he said.

Davis said running for the Oregon House was “the right thing to do.”

Davis“I think a democratic choice is needed in this district,” he said.

Squires has had two unsuccessful runs for public office in the past.

He challenged Roy Rogers for Washington County commissioner in 2008 and ran for a board position with the Tualatin Valley Water District in 2011.

His volunteer work in the community is extensive, but Squires said it will take more than a vision for Aloha to handle the far-reaching district.

“You will have all the annexation issues of Reedville, a sliver of Bull Mountain and almost all of King City, which is a completely different animal,” Squires said.

“And there is this new exploding city called Sherwood that is totally different than the Sherwood I knew 20 years ago, and Wilsonville, which is a jobs’ monster.”

Despite the wide range of issues, Squires said there is one over-arching theme at play: growth.

“The long-term issue for this district will largely be growth,” he said.

Squires cites his work with the Aloha Community Library as work he can do in the Oregon House.

“My background in Aloha leads me to suggest any help I can lend toward libraries. What I got done in the Aloha library is job creation,” he said.

The library currently has two employees. Squires admitted that’s not a lot, but it’s a start.

“That’s more than most of the politicians, who are talking about creating jobs, have done,” he said. “That number may not be big, but it’s bigger than anybody else I’ve been talking to.”

Davis, who is wrapping up his first term, said that he believes a lot can be accomplished in Salem in a second term.

"For many, the legislative process is challenging and frustrating, but I still remain, first and foremost, an optimist for Oregon and for my district," he said.

Davis said that although the district includes a wide variety of issues to tackle, there is also common ground.

"I find that even though the difference between Hillsboro and Wilsonville, education is always at the top of people's minds. It doesn’t matter how old you are, or what your background is, you want to see a successful education system."

The race is on

The race between Squires and Davis exemplifies how most of the races will be run this spring.

Like Squires and Davis, most of the candidates in May’s primary face no challengers in their own party, advancing hopefuls to the November General Election ballot.

Like its House counterpart, Oregon Senate District 13 — which represents Sherwood down to Salem — is being challenged by a Democrat and a Republican.

Ryan Howard, a Democrat from Newberg, and Salem’s Kim Thatcher will square off later this year for the seat, which was vacated by Larry George, the longtime Sherwood politician who is not seeking re-election. Thatcher currently serves as the state representative for House District 25, which represents Keizer, Newberg and St. Paul.

“It’s time for me to move to the next level and run for the Oregon Senate,” Thatcher said in December after announcing her candidacy.

Facing her is Ryan Howard, a Newberg city councilor who had initially planned to run for state House.

The Democrat faces a 6 percent Republican edge in the district.

Tualatin state Senator Richard Devlin and Tigard House Rep. Margaret Doherty are running unopposed for their respective seats.

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