District 48 representative candidates Barbara Dodrill and Wayne Krieger finally got the chance to debate face to face Thursday at the Brookings-Harbor Chamber of Commerce luncheon.
The two are running for the seat that Rep. Ken Messerle is vacating because of term limits. Their busy schedules had kept them from appearing together at the same forums.
Dodrill focused on her leadership experience and skills. That includes six years as a Bandon City councilor, three stints as a division chairwoman at Southwestern Oregon Community College, and leadership in her church and the board of the United Way.
Dodrill is an accounting teacher and has served on budget committees for her city and college. Education is her top priority. She said Measure 5 hurt schools, but that teachers are doing a good job with what little they have left.
She said the cuts ended vocational education in Bandon, which now has no carpentry, wood shop, business or typing classes.
We need to have vocational education and technical skills, she said, I will fight for stable funding for our schools.
Rural health care is Dodrills other big issue. She said Curry and Coos counties have the biggest percentage of uninsured people in the state. She said seniors shouldnt have to choose between food and prescription medicine.
On the economy, Dodrill said she will fight to make fishing, timber and agriculture as viable as they can be, but admitted we cant go back to the last century.
She said fiber-optics and better air service and roads are needed for economic development.
Krieger defended his people skills. He spent more than 20 years with the Oregon State Police working everything from traffic patrol to fish and wildlife and commercial fishing. He said he only received one letter of complaint in all that time.
Youd better have people skills when you stop a guy at 4 a.m. who has a beer and a gun, he said.
Krieger has run a 310-acre timber and cattle ranch for the last 27 years.
He and his wife earned the National Tree Farmers of the Year award.
With six children, 14 grandchildren, and 12 foster children, Krieger is also concerned about education. He has provided a scholarship to Gold Beach High School students since 1994.
Education is not a partisan issue, he said, I dont care what party you belong to, kids are important.
Like Dodrill, he sees the need for vocational education. Not all students have to go to college to become millionaires, he said.
Krieger is concerned with the health care problem in Brookings. He said providers should come together as a community.
He also said the Oregon Health Plan should pay those providers 30 percent more than what is paid in the big cities, not 30 percent less.
Krieger wants to do something about the cost of prescription drugs, but warned that a $100 drug benefit per person would cost $37 million.
He said he has seen a lot of poverty on the south coast with many people who dont have the skills or finances to move up.
We havent done a good job of selling the livability of the coast, said Krieger. He called Bandon a shining star in that respect, and credited Dodrill for her role in that.
Both candidates came out against Measure 91, which would give taxpayers credit on their state forms for all federal income tax paid.
Krieger called it a death wish for the state of Oregon. He said police, schools, and other services will simply not exist as they do today.
Dodrill said only people making more than $200,000 a year will see any big savings from the measure.
Both candidates also said they would fight to make sure increased federal funding to schools is not displaced by state cuts.
Krieger warned, however, that if Measure 91 passes, the state legislature will have to hold on to whatever it can get.