Compass Editorial – Oregon Governor Endorsement

Democratic+candidate+Tina+Kotek.

Democratic candidate Tina Kotek.

Compass Editorial Team

The Editorial Staff for the student-run Compass publication has interviewed, reviewed debate coverage, and questioned a number of local and state candidates this year.   For the first time ever, the team has made an endorsement in the race for Oregon Governor. The students did not confer with the Advisor and submitted their editorial to be published. The views of the student reporters and Editor-in-Chief do not necessarily reflect those of the North Clackamas School District or the employees.

 

     The Governor’s race is an important election regarding the future of the state and could be the first time in four decades that a republican governor takes office. It is historic with three women in the final stages of the election: Democrat Tina Kotek, Independent Betsy Johnson, and Republican Christine Drazan.

     Christine Drazan is Oregon’s Republican candidate and was chief of staff to the Republican Speaker of the house. She represents the far-right movement that is seen in many other states at the moment and is a staunch supporter of Donald Trump, the MAGA movement, and state-funded police. She is an immense supporter of the pro-life movement, supports 2nd amendment rights, wants to expand access to school choice, expand police presence, and put an end to homeless camps. On her website, she doesn’t specify how she plans to achieve these or most of her other goals, and most require a lot of funding. At the same time, she has quite a bit on her website about decreasing the taxes that would likely be paying for the rest of her plans, making it contradictory. 

     In an interview with Oregon Public Broadcasting, Drazan said, “HB 3115, authored by Tina Kotek, made it overly complicated for local governments to enforce local laws and ordinances surrounding tent camping and loitering. The bill was a mistake and has only made things worse.” She would make Portland inhospitable and dangerous to live in for homeless people, taking them off the streets and instead treating them as though they’re criminals. Drazan’s priorities don’t include climate change, safe abortion access, or gun control, all of which are very important for the health and safety of everyone. She is a swing too far to the right for Oregon. 

     As an independent, Betsy Johnson believes in taking what she sees as the best ideas from both parties. Johnson’s campaign claim is that she won’t give up on Oregon without a fight, subsequently stating that there are major problems taking place within the state; a claim that is a recurring theme amongst republican candidates in the upcoming races. Johnson has experience serving in both the Oregon senate and house chambers. In running as an independent she claims that when push comes to shove dealing with passing legislation, she’s going to shove and that she will “demand” bipartisan support for legislation, budgets, and appointments. This a claim that sounds great in theory, but is becoming increasingly unlikely to happen in practice. 

     Johnson’s campaign has been a lot of talk about her running as an independent, but not a lot about what policies she finds important. Johnson supports dealing with Oregon’s homeless crisis, the rising cost of living in Oregon, and the mental health and addiction crisis. But under every tab on her campaign website that outlines and explains the issues she supports, is a claim that Kate Brown was the cause of the issue’s severity, and that Tina Kotek will only make it worse. When explaining what she will do as governor, she points the blame at her democratic counterparts first for all the issues she will have to tackle. Repeatedly pointing fingers and placing blame is not a great strategy to gain the support of the democratic party, which she hopes to represent along with the Republican party.

     Tina Kotek was entrusted with the role of speaker of the house in the Oregon legislative branch for nearly a decade, giving her much needed experience. She wants to fight for environmental health, the protection of reproductive rights, and gun control. Very similar to many other Oregon Democrat politicians, even the previous governor- but that might be for the best. 

     A candidate that pledges to lower housing and healthcare costs, protect Oregon’s forests from wildfires, and tackle systematic racism in policymaking, is someone who’s hard to disagree with. A candidate that wants to create policies that keep Oregon’s residents safe, such as stricter gun laws, especially as a slew of lockdowns caused by gun threats has terrorized the North Clackamas School District and other districts alike becomes increasingly appealing as time goes on. She was endorsed by other trusted Democrat politicians such as Senator Jeff Merkley and Senator Ron Wyden and fostered visits to the state from big-name Democrat politicians, such as President Joe Biden, who visited Portland recently to host a fundraiser for Kotek’s campaign, Senator Elizebeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders, who will be visiting the state this week to show support for Kotek. An ad featuring former President Barack Obama also ran on television this week, where Obama refers to Kotek as the “real deal,” and shows his support for her and her legislative policies. Kotek is backed by trusted democrats throughout the various levels of government and is endorsed by Planned Parenthood and the Human Rights Campaign. 

     The Compass News team endorses Tina Kotek for Oregon’s next governor. Even if one does not completely agree with her, she is a better choice than Betsy Johnson and Christine Drazan, no matter how many signs they put up. Kotek is prioritizing equitable rights much more than her opponents and is at the very least a good step in the right direction.