Local man running again for Congress position
Prineville resident Paul Romero has thrown his hat in the ring for a second time to unseat Republican Greg Walden as Representative of Oregon Second Congressional District.
The 51-year-old candidate is seeking the Republican Party nomination after earning about 19.44 percent of the district-wide vote in the 2016 primary election.
Romero lived in Prineville from eighth grade to when he graduated high school in 1984. He spent one year in college then joined the U.S. Navy, where he served for 10 years. He came back to Prineville in 2014 but said he was not pleased with the community he saw upon his return. He is hoping, as a member of Congress, he can fix some concerning issues locally and throughout the Second Congressional District.
One of his biggest focuses if elected would be social security. He says that Walden voted against a social security lockbox that would keep Congress from abusing the funds.
"Congress should be held accountable for the money they take out of there and not be allowed to take any more money out," he said.
Romero would also like to focus on sound public lands management, and he believes that the key to that lies in addressing the federal Endangered Species Act.
"It is imperative that the Endangered Species Act be removed or modified," he said. "Until we take care of that, we can't get our timber industry back."
He went on to stress that making those changes would help improve the local job market and provide more residents the means to earn a living in Crook County and throughout the House District.
"It's great that we have Facebook, and it's great that we have Apple. They have some really great white-collar jobs up there," Romero said, "but the fact is, we have a largely blue-collar workforce."
He contends that if the Endangered Species Act is modified or removed, more jobs will open up in the timber industry and provide employment opportunities for the blue-collar workforce.
Romero went on to say that he is a big believer in trades and how they can benefit the economy.
"We need electricians and plumbers and appliance repairmen," he said. "These are people who make very good livings."
Affordable housing is on Romero's radar as well, and if elected, he would like to address the issue. He points out that he sees three bedroom, one and a half bathroom homes renting for $1,400 per month.
"Something is really wrong here," he said.
Although Romero lost to Walden in the 2016 primary by a large margin, he feels he was at a greater disadvantage in that election than he will be this time. He notes that he raised only $6,500 to finance his campaign compared to more than $1 million that Walden raised, and full-time employment took time away that he could have used to campaign.
Since that defeat, Romero has spent time in people's homes and has been talking to people about Walden's voting record. He said people have not liked what they have heard about that record. He therefore hopes to do what he believes others in the House have failed to do — represent the people.
"I can truly relate to the public at large. You can't represent people you can't relate to," he said. "With my background, my experience and my brain, I know I can do this. I know I can represent people correctly."