HD 29 candidates and one HD 24 candidate participated in the Washington County Public Affairs Forum.

The first Washington County Public Affairs Forum of several this month was held at lunchtime Monday, Oct. 1, at Coyote's Bar & Grill in Hillsboro.

Invited to the forum were state Rep. Susan McLain and challenger David Molina, running to represent House District 29, and Rep. Ron Noble and Ken Moore, running for House District 24. Noble, the Republican incumbent, was not present at the forum.Susan McLainDavid MolinaKen Moore

In the race for HD 29, the incumbent McLain, a retired longtime public school teacher, mostly in the Hillsboro School District, and her Republican challenger Molina, a business-owner and former U.S. Army captain, were first to speak to the small crowd Monday.

Members of the Washington County Public Affairs Forum asked the candidates questions to which McLain and Molina each had an opportunity to respond.

The two, who have up to this point shown they have little in common politically, continued the trend Monday with opposing responses to all of the questions asked, including their viewpoints on Ballot Measure 105. The measure, if passed, would repeal the current so-called "sanctuary state" law that prohibits state and local police from engaging in federal immigration law enforcement. It was passed in 1987 in response to alleged racial profiling of immigrants by local, state and federal law enforcement.

McLain stated she plans to vote against the measure, suggesting the current law is important for the safety of the community and to make sure law enforcement are able to do their job.

"I think it's extremely important to remember that when you have people afraid to come forward when there is a crime that has happened, that then you do not have the ability for our law enforcement to actually do their job," McLain said. "I also believe as a teacher, who had many 'Dreamers' and many immigrant families that were involved in my classrooms and in my school, that those folks need to feel secure, they need to feel as if they are part of the community, they are contributing to the community, they have brought diversity and many skills to the community."

Molina, on the other hand said he plans to vote "yes" to repeal the law.

"What this will solve is interagency coordination between local law enforcement and federal law enforcement," he said. "We should all be treated equally. This is really something about being treated equally, not about mistreatment and more importantly, where maybe Americans, folks that are born here, Hispanic included, and I'm a Hispanic-American, are treated differently than say someone not born here and they've committed a huge crime and now there's no coordination. So I will be voting personally 'yes' on Measure 105 so we can make sure that coordination happens."

Molina also discussed his opposition to road tolling, which McLain said she doesn't necessarily oppose. Both Molina and McLain suggested the need for change in terms of funding for education, though they shared different ideas for doing so.

Reached by phone after the event, Noble said he had planned to be there. He said his failure to attend was due to a scheduling mix-up, explaining he had mistakenly marked the event in his calendar two weeks from Monday.

"I wish I could tell you that it was some big important thing, but I was just out putting up campaign signs," said Noble, a former McMinnville police chief first elected in 2016. "I apologize to everybody there. I can't tell you how much I hate making mistakes like that."

Due to Noble's absence, Moore was given 10 minutes to share with the crowd who he is and why he is running, as well as respond to member questions.

A former Intel engineer running to represent House District 24, which includes the northern half of Yamhill County, except Newberg, and a small part of Washington County, Moore found himself on the ballot in an unusual turn of events after Noble sent a mailer to residents of the district encouraging Democrats to write in Noble as their nominee. This prompted the Yamhill County Democrats organization to mobilize with the help of Progressive Yamhill, formerly Action Together Oregon: Yamhill Valley.

"They thought, 'OK, who can we get to use for a write-in (nominee)? Whose name can we put out and ask people to write in on their ballot?' and they came to me, and I said 'yes.' So I won an election. It was all Democrats, and I was the only Democrat in the election, but I won," Moore joked. "So that's why I'm standing here today."

Moore was quick to comment on his absent opponent's "moderate persona," saying Noble's conservative voting history shows otherwise. Moore then briefly discussed his support for both the need for stricter gun laws and more affordable healthcare. He also stated addressing homelessness needs to be at the forefront.

"It's time to again, make a bold move in coordinating cities, counties, private partnerships in addressing homelessness with supportive transitional housing," he said. "I will not look away from homelessness. I will not look away from working families who need access to affordable health, and I will not look away from all of us who need affordable quality healthcare."

The next Washington County Public Affairs Forum will be held Monday, Oct. 8, with House District 27 candidates Rep. Sheri Malstrom, D-Beaverton, and Brian Pierson and House District 37 candidates Rep. Julie Parrish, R-West Linn, and Rachel Prusack.

By Olivia Singer
Reporter, Forest Grove News-Times and Hillsboro Tribune
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Follow Olivia at @oliviasingerr
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