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Candidates race for Oregon House District 24 seat

As part of our ongoing election coverage, the Hillsboro Tribune asked the candidates competing in House District 24 to respond to questions covering a variety of issues. The three hopefuls for the state representative district are: State Rep. Jim Weidner, the Republican incumbent who lives in Yamhill; Ken Moore, a Democrat from Yamhill; and Kohler Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate, who lives in Dundee. Johnson did not respond to our questionnaire.

House District 24 includes portions of the southern outskirts of Hillsboro and Cornelius.

Meet the candidates:

n JIM WEIDNER: In addition to serving in the Oregon Legislature since 2009, I have owned and operated several small businesses with experience in the restaurant industry and industrial vibration analysis equipment; and now I’m manufacturing eyeglass lenses in our lab in Newberg. My family has been in Yamhill County since the 1800s, and I’m proud of the four boys my wife and I raised, and our large extended family.

n KEN MOORE: Thirty-five years ago, we built our home with our own hands and raised three kids here. They graduated from Yamhill-Carlton High School. I worked for Intel as an electrical engineer. I am a property owner/manager and a licensed, bonded, insured contractor/handyman. I have served the schools as a volunteer ASPIRE counselor, and am a founding member of a motivational program that serves children with special needs in McMinnville and Hillsboro. I served as the chair of the board in my church and our local live theater. I tried my hand at farming oats and alfalfa with some success.

HILLSBORO TRIBUNE: Why did you decide to run for this office?

WEIDNER: I am running for re-election because I understand the struggles that beset small business owners, and I stay connected to those organizations that work in conjunction with and represent our small business entrepreneurs. I understand the challenges of making a payroll, navigating the minutiae of government licensure and over-regulation, all while knowing the responsibility that comes with signing the front of a paycheck. I have consistently stood up for small business and have helped many constituents move forward when they were confronted with bureaucratic “red tape.” I understand that Oregon is in competition with 49 other states and the entire globe for business, and I’m dedicated to re-establishing Oregon as a viable place to expand business and invest in capital enterprise while creating the fertile business climate that fosters job growth and prosperity.

MOORE: We need better representation. The votes from our current representative have been anti-education, anti-small business and anti-taxpayer. I have a deep commitment to serve the people of this district. I will show up eager to do that work. My opponent missed 52 out of 176 votes in the last session, setting the record by a wide margin. The most common number missed by a representative is zero. We deserve better. I am dedicated to responding to the overwhelming concern in our district for our schools and businesses.

HILLSBORO TRIBUNE: What do you believe is the most important issue in your district?

WEIDNER: With the debacle of the Cover Oregon roll-out, which I spoke and voted against since the beginning, many businesses are expressing uncertainty in projected costs for health care coverage, which leads to hiring freezes and fear of adding additional full-time employees. In addition to the $248 million tax dollars wasted on the failed project, the FBI is investigating and I supported the legislative investigation to find and hold those responsible. Oregon has both an unemployment and underemployment problem. Unemployment due to lack of job opportunities and underemployment because businesses are restricting full-time employees due to health care uncertainty. We can only incentivize job creation once we can have solid policies in place that allows for businesses to accurately project their costs and plan accordingly.

While sitting on the House Committee on Health Care, I will continue to express these viewpoints and seek common sense solutions to help businesses get the stability they need to expand jobs and create wealth.

MOORE: The virtuous cycle of living-wage jobs and education. That is when businesses that pay living wage jobs are enabled to grow, thus improving the tax base to fund our schools. Improved school funding will result in more graduates better prepared to fill the expanding job market. The growth of our industry relies on a favorable tax climate, keeping regulations and red tape to a minimum and investment by the state in access to capital and expert assistance. I will champion this cycle in my budgeting priorities and the legislation I put forward and support.

HILLSBORO TRIBUNE: Why do you believe voters would best be served by choosing you to represent them rather than your opponents?

WEIDNER: I have stood up for business in the state Legislature since 2009, working for common sense solutions to grow our economy. I am a small business owner and will work alongside those who seek to create a vibrant economy by re-establishing Oregon as a fertile business climate. I also understand our community, and I believe it’s our office in Salem. Your input and legislative ideas are welcomed because citizen engagement creates better bills. In addition, because it’s our office, I will always prioritize assistance with constituent issues.

MOORE: Ninety-five percent of my opponent’s funding is from multi-national corporations and special interests seeking favoritism. Guess what? It works! For example, my opponent voted against saving taxpayers and Cover Oregon money because it cut into the profits of his big insurance backers. I have not and will not take corporate money. I am free to serve the people of this district. When my opponent was challenged about his missed votes, he said it did not matter and that he was not paid enough and so had to go on business trips. I will show up and serve with integrity.

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