Pierce speaks during Economic Alliance event at Gresham's Main City Park -

OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Republican gubernatorial candidate Dr. Williams Bud Pierce, left, was guest speaker Thursday afternoon at Gresham's Main City Park. He was there at the invitation of the East Metro Economic Alliance, a business advocacy organization in East Multnomah County. Republican gubernatorial candidate Dr. William “Bud” Pierce stopped by Gresham Thursday afternoon, Aug. 11, to give the keynote address at the final East Metro Economic Alliance summer event at the Main City Park’s Coho Shelter.

Pierce’s speech was on local and statewide economic issues, and he also took questions from the audience at the end.

“I think citizens should be involved, I want to stay in contact with the public,” Pierce said. “I’m honored when people ask me to talk, so whenever I get the chance I try to come out to events like this.”

The talk fits the main thrust of Pierce’s campaign, which focuses on bringing economic prosperity to the state. His main idea is that most of the problems Oregon faces can be fixed by creating more jobs. Establishing a well-trained, well-prepared work force alongside a booming private sector is the key.

“The more people we can employ with real jobs, the better our society will be,” he said.

He sees a strong work force as a means to breaking down barriers between different people. No matter what background someone comes from, working together to accomplish a common goal is a great way for people to get along.

Pierce also says an influx of jobs would help stem some of the problems surrounding homelessness, as it would provide more opportunities to make a living. A wealth of jobs can also prevent clashes between the public and immigrants, he said.

Some of the ways he wants to achieve this is through tax relief on mid-tier income and by providing more affordable post-secondary education for students. He also supports programs that support career technical education, such as Measure 98, which would require state funding for dropout-prevention and career and college readiness programs in Oregon high schools.

Beyond growing the private sector, Pierce also highlighted his belief that private industry could help run state agencies more efficiently.

“The government has to live within the realm of what it has,” Pierce said. “It can’t keep going to the citizens asking for more money, it needs to learn how to manage money.”

A lot of his platform revolves around the idea that Oregon has been stuck in a rut for several decades, mired under the same policies and programs. According to his campaign website, this is mainly due to the one-party system that has ruled the state. He sees his candidacy as an attempt to overcome the stagnation by introducing new ideas for fixing the problems the state faces.

“I’m laying out a different vision for Oregon than (Gov.) Kate Brown,” Pierce said. “If I wasn’t, what would be the point?”

Brown, a Democrat, was serving as secretary of state when she was appointed as governor following the mid-term resignation of John Kitzhaber, who left office amid allegations of misconduct, claiming he and his fiancee, Cylvia Hayes, misused their influence for personal financial gain.

Now serving as the appointed governor, Brown is seeking election to a first full term, squaring off against Pierce in the November general election.

Brown was invited by the East Metro Economic Alliance to attend the event, but declined, organizers said. A debate between the two candidates has been scheduled for Sept. 24 in Bend.

“I know she has been hesitant to show up,” Pierce said. “Maybe I need to sweeten the pot and let her see the questions ahead of time so she and her staff can come up with answers for her to read.”

Pierce is a senior partner of Hematology/Oncology of Salem, one of the last physician-owned oncology practices in the Northwest, which cares for patients with serious blood disorders and cancer. If elected, he plans to end his involvement with the practice.

After his speech Pierce took questions from the crowd in an informal setting, turning the session into more of a conversation. Several times he asked for input on how they would approach the problems facing the state.

“We need to do all we can to promote the success of all areas,” Pierce said, “letting them develop their own ideas and plans and then supporting that with the government.”

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