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People from both sides of the aisle hoping to land position following announced retirement

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Greg WaldenFor the first time in two decades, Greg Walden's name will not appear on the primary or general election ballots for representative of Oregon's Second Congressional District.

The longtime congressman has opted to retire, and following his announcement, several candidates from both sides of the aisle of thrown their hat into the ring to succeed him.

So far, the Democratic candidates include Isabella Tibbetts of Talent, Raz Mason of The Dalles and John Holm of Medford. Republican candidates include Mark Roberts of White City and Cliff Bentz, an Ontario resident and senator in Oregon's 30th Senate District. Bend doctor and 2018 Republican gubernatorial candidate Knute Buehler has publicly stated he is considering running for the position as well, but he has not yet filed.

The Democratic candidates come from varying professions and levels of political experience. Holm has served as a Democratic strategist for the past 15 years, according to the campaign information, which Holm said has given "a keen insight into how things get done in Washington, and how politicians on both sides of the aisle could do a better job."

The four pillars of Holm's platform are jobs, education, health care and honoring veterans.

According to her bio with Sustain U.S., Tibbetts grew up in Ecuador and has worked with organizations including Southern Oregon Climate Action Now, Women's Earth and Climate Action Network, Green-Valley Samaritans, Rogue Climate and Honor the Earth.

In a recent media report in Jackson County announcing her candidacy, she said she has never felt represented in Congress.

"Not once did I feel that our congressman was leading our district where it needed to go," she said. "Not once did I see passion for improving the lives of every Oregonian. Not once did I see the respect for diversity we need if we are going to move forward as a district, a state and a nation. I want to change all that."

Mason lived in Hermiston during her childhood and has worked as a teacher in The Dalles and Hood River. According to her campaign website, she holds a master's degree from Harvard and has worked in domestic violence shelters and with the military.

Her campaign focuses include "courageous climate action, comprehensive health care, creating a sustainable economy and leading through trauma-informed politics."

Roberts was an Independent Party nominee in 2018 for the position he is now seeking as a Republican candidate. Roberts is currently an online retailer, according to his filing information, and has worked as a small and medium-sized business owner, truck executive and safety compliance officer.

Bentz is a rural legislator with a ranching and farming background. He was first appointed to the Oregon Legislative Assembly in 2008 and currently serves Senate District 30, which encompasses Jefferson, Baker, Grant, Harney, Malheur, Wheeler, and parts of Clackamas, Deschutes, Lake, Marion, and Wasco counties. Previously, he served in the House of Representatives representing Oregon House District 60.

"I have spent 12 years in the Oregon Legislature helping protect and defend those Oregonians who elected me to serve, first to the Oregon House and now in the Oregon Senate." he said. "I believe that the experience I have gained arguing and negotiating with urban Oregon legislators over agricultural practices, forest management, transportation, water use, energy, tax, climate, and medical care could be put to good use in Congress."

Currently, a senior partner in the law firm of Yturri, Rose LLP, Bentz specializes in business reorganizations, real estate transactions and water law. He also currently serves on the Finance and Revenue, Joint Transportation, Environment and Natural Resources, and Judiciary committees in the Oregon Senate.

The deadline to file as a candidate for the 2020 election is March 12.


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