JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. — Jackson County voters are only a week and a half away from receiving their ballots in the mail. Jackson County residents will be able to vote on a number of issues: the Medford School Bond (if you live in Medford), Jackson County Commissioners—and who will fill Oregon State Senator Alan DeBoer's District 3 seat.
DeBoer filled Senator Alan Bates' seat after he died suddenly back in 2016. In February, Senator DeBoer announced that he will not run for re-election. Six candidates are eyeing that seat—two Republicans and four Democrats.
We spoke to Republican candidate Jessica Gomez several weeks ago. Republican candidate Curt Ankerburg has not yet been able to do an interview with NewsWatch 12.
NewsWatch 12 recently spoke with each of the four Democrat candidates hoping to get votes from registered Democrats in the Primary Elections on May 15th.
Julian Bell is an Intensive Care physician. He outlined some of his goals if he were to become a state Senator.:
"My goals are to work on building a state bank or a similar type of institution that would enable us to invest in things that I think Oregon voters need—like affordable housing and, I think, clean energy infrastructure—which is a way of moving our state forward off of fossil fuels and into a renewable energy future. I also think that people are very interested in have a single-payer health care system. I think it would be a less expensive way of providing health care for people. That means even wealthy people as well as people who are not very wealthy. Those are some of my main goals."
Athena Goldberg is a mental health provider. She said she has the skill set to be the leader for the community:
"I'm running because we need leadership. We need local leadership and we need leadership at the state. In the loss of Senator Alan Bates we really loss a person, a voice, a leader that understand our community and could represent us well at the state. He also provided a huge amount of leadership at the state level which I don't think I truly appreciated until I really had to deal with the policies and testify in front of the Senate. And I really feel that I have the skill set—I know I have the skill set to fill that void."
Jeff Golden served as a Jackson County Commissioner form 1987-1991. In 1993, he was the Oregon Senate President's Chief-of-Staff. This is what he said about why he's running from Oregon State Senate District 3:
"Oregon is in a position to really do some extraordinary things while the nation is stumbling so badly on climate, on healthcare, on a bunch of stuff that really matters. So this seems like a really good place to put my energy in. It's kind of an honor to do this. I don't want to be corny about this but it's a huge privilege to be able to run for office. And to talk about the issues and to stand up for what you believe in and to get in that whole arena."
Kevin Stine is currently a member of the Medford City Council. He said one of the main issues he wants to tackle is southern Oregon's housing crisis:
"I'm running because I think there's big issues that we have to tackle in Oregon. For me, number one is housing. We have an incredible lack of housing, especially affordable housing and working families—it's very tough to get by. So I'm trying to get to Salem to look at our land-use laws, look to increase the density. Just find a way forward for that because it is such a striking issue that we have."