After a mere 12 months as a Curry County commissioner, Court Boice is “kicking around the idea” of vying for the U.S. Representative seat currently held by Peter DeFazio.
He made a “quiet” announcement Wednesday on social media and will make the decision to file in the next few weeks.
“I’m just watching, recruiting. I’ve got an awfully good team that wants to roll up their sleeves and see if this can be done,” he said
The primary is in May; the general election is next November.
Boice, who had no political experience before he was elected to county commissioner last year, has played an active role in many issues in the county. Of note was his participation in the Chetco Bar Fire, traveling from his home in Agness to as far as Brookings to coordinate meetings and demand answers. Meanwhile, the other two commissioners, Sue Gold and Tom Huxley, were nowhere to be found, although Gold said she “called in to a few meetings” to keep tabs on the fire.
Boice was instrumental in fighting for a raise for Sheriff John Ward, and voted against returning AllCare grant money that might have helped the HeadStart program and homeless individuals. AllCare says the money is still available for nonprofit groups; it just will no longer have the county serve as a middleman.
But Boice has also gone head-to-head with Huxley and Gold, who often vote against his ideas. Among those still on his radar is a prepared-food sales tax as a revenue generator, economic recovery from the Chetco Bar Fire, creation of a revenue advisory committee and relocating wild Bureau of Land Management horses to the backcountry surrounding Brookings and Gold Beach to keep fire-fuels at bay.
It’s that issue — federal policy regarding fire management — that was the driving force behind the idea to run for Congress.
“Absolutely,” Boice said. “Nobody — nobody — has the natural resources Oregon has. To squander it? Someone’s got to stand up. I think I can at least do that.”
He cited DeFazio’s vote against the Resilient Federal Forests Act as reprehensible, as well.
“House Resolution 2926, which passed the House with a bipartisan vote of 232-188 and is now in Senate committee,” Boice said on his website. “The bill would restore reasonable timber harvests and allow rapid harvest of burned timber along with requiring replanting after a fire and keeping roads open.
“It will likely be 50 to 80 years before timber harvest opportunities return to the 191,000-acre Chetco Bar Fire area, which will, without a doubt, affect all county timber revenues until the resource regenerates,” he said. “We’re going to get the policies changed.”
He said the so-called “Let it Burn” and “Learn to Live with Wildfire” policies are not working for District 4, nor is not harvesting burned timber or reseeding burned areas.
“It was caused by bad management objectives,” he said. “We must address public land management with local input that is followed (up on), not just a pat on the head and ‘thanks for stopping by.’ I don’t see any major changes with the federal agencies. And there’s some real struggles there.
“They’ve got to get the rural counties on board, have a seat at the table,” he said. “This is all preventable. We’re zero and four now on the fires: the Silver, the Biscuit, the Collier and now the Chetco Bar Fire.”
A major component of work at the federal level, too, needs to entail getting the federal government to abide by the O&C contracts that require it pay 18 of Oregon’s counties money due to them from timber tax receipts.
Other issues, from local to national, aren’t outlined on the website, but Boice encourages people to let him know what they think is most important. He also said if he decides to file to run in the election, he will not let campaigning interfere with his commissioner duties.
“My goal is to be the best commissioner in Curry County history,” he said Friday. “Winning the May primary election at the federal level would be a tall mountain to climb. To win the November general against a 32-year incumbent would then add the pushing of a big rock up an even taller mountain.”
Boice, who believes the Bible and the U.S. Constitution are the two most important documents ever written, is a self-described Republican, but “not a very loyal Republican.”
And he realizes his odds of going against a popular Democrat could be slim.
“No one else wants to take him on,” Boice said. “He’s not a bad guy; it’s just time for him to go. The reality is that I’ll probably be here for three more years. Even winning the primary would be a fantastic thing.
“Should a miracle win come, then I would be Curry’s first-ever U.S. congressman,” he added. “We’ll make this beautiful corner of Oregon proud. Regardless, the Curry communities will benefit from a national sounding board.”
Reach Jane Stebbins at firstname.lastname@example.org.