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Dr. James Born to face off with Jeff Helfrich, Britt Storkson in May 17 primary

COURTESY PHOTO: FRIENDS OF DR. JAMES BORN - Dr. James Born, 71, is running against two other Republicans in the May 17 primary for House District 52. With Rep. Anna Williams (D-Hood River) resigning after the end of her term, multiple Republicans have decided to throw their hats in the ring and seek election as state representative for House District 52.

Welches resident and psychologist Dr. James Born is among those competing in the May 17 primary election against former Rep. Jeff Helfrich (R-Hood River) and Britt Storkson (R-The Dalles).

Born filed to run on Feb. 25, saying his primary motivation is because "there's a mental health crisis in the state."

Born has worked as a clinical psychologist for 30 years, working before that in numerous different fields as a farmer, teacher, administrator, youth adult/juvenile justice psychologist and county mental health psychologist.

"As a psychologist, I have seen the pain that our present policies have created by failing to understand, people are more than bodies to be kept alive at all costs," Born said. "We are now experiencing a mental health crisis of exponential increase of anxiety, depression, hopelessness, alcohol and drug addiction and overdose, and suicide."

Citing mental health as a motivator, Born said he has worked during the pandemic to provide clients with medical exemptions, and he said because of COVID-related policies, "people have become more isolated, fearful and sad" than they were even before the pandemic.

"The policies have unintentionally created difficulties," Born said.

Born labeled policies that shut or restricted businesses and mandated masks during the pandemic as examples of government overreach and vowed to fight for "medical freedom."

While he doesn't believe in allowing employers to mandate vaccinations for employees, Born said he "took the jab" because he'd have otherwise lost his license and "there's a mental health crisis, and I need to be able to serve my clientele."

On the pandemic, Born added that "There's been tremendous loss. We're not living what we used to call normal. There's a general cloud of sadness over society. We need to acknowledge we're in a deep sense of grief. We need to accept it (and ask) 'What can we learn from this?' and move forward."

Born noted that he also hopes to address increases in homelessness, domestic violence and difficulty related to accessing healthcare if elected. He said inaccessibility of healthcare has led to an increase in people suffering from addiction and mental illness.

"I believe I have some skills and awareness in the mental health field that could serve well in the political processes in Salem," Born said.

Born is a proponent of public safety and law enforcement, though he also believes "law enforcement officers can't be expected to be social workers," and that mental health professionals need to be employed in situations involving persons with mental illness or experiencing a mental health crisis.

Born is also a self-proclaimed "pro-life" candidate, and advocate for parents having a say in what is taught to their children in schools.

Though he is a registered Republican, Born said he plans to work across the aisle to find solutions if elected.

"I'm representing House District 52 as a part of Oregon and representing the concerns of the district in its entirety," Born said. "We have to be able to work together and collaborate to solve issues. If we go on with this partisan issue of 'it's my way or the highway,' we're not going to get anywhere."

Born considers himself a "listener and problem solver," who has worked with people with diverse backgrounds, and he said: "I believe I can bring those skills into state government."

"We need to be able to, while holding our values, talk about things in the public square," Born said. "I want to go to Salem to help us get unstuck and move forward. I'm about how we can build up, not how we can tear down. I believe I am the candidate that can bring people together."

For more information about Dr. James Born and his campaign, visit friendsofdrjamesborn.com.


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