Cave Junction chemist Art Robinson wants to make a fifth try for the Congressional seat held by Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Springfield, but it appears he will face at least three challengers in the May 2018 Republican primary.

Robinson, 75, a former Oregon Republican Party chairman, has won Douglas County every time he’s run, but lost the district-wide vote to DeFazio. DeFazio has served U.S. House District 4 for 30 years. He has not yet filed for re-election.

Two other Republican candidates have already filed. They are Jo Rae Perkins of Albany, who ran unsuccessfully against Robinson for the Republican nomination in 2016, and newcomer Stefan Strek, a 27-year-old from Eugene. It also appears Curry County Commissioner Court Boice plans to throw his hat in the ring. Boice, a second cousin of Douglas County Commissioner Chris Boice, has not yet filed but has launched a campaign website.

Robinson said he’s optimistic about his chances against DeFazio in 2018, because he won five of seven counties in the district in 2016, and gained 20,000 more voters than in 2014. He said he wishes his Republican challengers well, and “we’ll see what the good voters want to do.”

His priority if elected would be to help free the people from restrictive regulations he said unfairly burden them.

“The Republicans stand for constitutional, smaller government, and the Democrats stand for a larger government any way they can get it,” he said.

He said he’s a strong advocate for Second Amendment rights.

“The Second Amendment is a freedom we have, and we should be able to exercise it, and this country’s better off when we do,” he said.

He also said he would work for increasing timber harvests. He said DeFazio has not done enough to protect timber interests, and that Josephine County recently lost its last lumber mill.

“People should be able to use their natural resources, but Mr. DeFazio has never been someone who helped our timber industry. He really only helped to drive it down because that is what his political constituents seemed to want him to do,” he said.

He said in order to improve the economy, it’s important to get the “administrative state off the backs of the American people. Every time an American turns around, he’s got a license or a permit or a lawyer activated by somebody trying to prevent him from doing his work.”

On veterans issues, Robinson said he would like to see veterans given cards that enabled them to obtain medical care wherever they wanted, not just at a Veterans Affairs hospital.

Robinson has been in the news for a variety of reasons over the years. He received attention in 2014 after his family’s organization, the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, mailed out half a million requests for urine samples. Robinson said Tuesday he and his family have collected 5,000 samples. He said they’ve been using the samples to research chemical markers in urine that can predict whether the person will develop heart disease or breast cancer.

In March of this year, a New Yorker magazine said President Donald Trump’s administration had considered Robinson as a possible science adviser. Robinson said he was flattered, but that no one from Trump’s administration contacted him.

During the 2012 campaign, Robinson’s son Matthew Robinson switched parties to run against DeFazio in the primaries.

Strek, 27, who works as a clerk in the University of Oregon’s financial aid department, ran unsuccessfully for Eugene mayor in 2016, receiving less than 2 percent of the vote. Strek is a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump, and said he backs the president 110 percent. That sets him apart from his own parents, who Strek said “bleed blue.”

He believes he’d have a better shot at winning the District 4 race because people he spoke to outside Eugene city limits were more supportive of his mayoral candidacy. That led him to think the Congressional district would be better for him, demographically.

“I figure go for the bigger pool and the bigger office, and that would have more success,” he said.

Strek listed defending Second Amendment rights as his top priority, and said he wants to prevent gun control regulations passed in California from spreading to other states.

“I don’t believe it’s constitutional for states to infringe on individual citizens’ ability to possess weapons. That should be just guaranteed,” he said.

Strek said he wanted to improve health care by ensuring people can get medications they need, and by pushing for patients’ rights. He also said the cost of malpractice insurance and frivolous lawsuits is too high.

Strek said he hopes events will be scheduled that will give him a chance to debate the other candidates on the issues.

“I’m hoping that we have a lot more open discussion within the GOP,” he said.

Asked why he believes he’d be a better candidate than his competitors, Strek said, “To my knowledge Art Robinson has a warehouse full of urine, and I don’t.”

He said he thinks Perkins is a “nice lady,” but seems “a little off the wall” because he said she believes in conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his infowars.com website.

“That’s not going to get too much traction in Washington,” he said.

He said DeFazio seems like a nice guy, but one who’s “getting up there” and seems ready for retirement.

Strek said he’s young, single and has no family to distract him, all of which he said would be assets.

Perkins is a former chairwoman of the Linn County Republican Party, who served from 2009 to 2012. She ran for Congress in 2016, and won 32 percent of the vote in the 2016 primary, compared with 68 percent for Robinson. She plans to run a higher profile campaign this time around, and said she absolutely will win a seat in Congress.

“I believe that I’m supposed to be there,” she said.

Perkins, 61, is also a Trump fan. She said when she heard Trump’s campaign speech, she looked at her husband and said, “Who gave Donald Trump my campaign brochure? It was like he was reading straight out of it. I was blown away.”

Perkins said her strength is that as a “micro-business” owner, she understands main street America. Perkins has been a realtor and a certified financial planner. Her husband is a carpet installation contractor.

“I think we need a main street American who understands that the money the government takes is not the government’s money. It belongs to the people,” she said.

Major concerns for Perkins are the national debt and immigration policy. She wants to see an end to runaway federal spending, by increasing the role of the states.

Perkins wants to see Trump’s promised wall built between the U.S. and Mexico, to keep illegal immigrants out.

“If they’re still pushing back on that in a year, I’ll be there to say let’s get this built. Let’s work on taking care of those who cross the border and also those who overstay their visas,” she said.

She also agrees with Robinson that veterans should be able to choose their own doctors.

“If they want to go to the VA, they should have that option, but if they want to see another doctor, that option should be there for them,” she said.

Perkins also believes the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service should not own land, and said that land should be turned over to the states.

As for Strek’s dig about Alex Jones, Perkins said she thinks Jones is either off the wall or hitting the nail on the head. She said sometimes Jones is right on the money, but his word isn’t gospel. She said she listens to and reads about all sides of an event before making up her mind about it, and she’s not a conspiracy theorist.

Perkins said her values are pretty well aligned to Robinson’s and Boice’s. But she’s convinced she’s the better candidate. Boice will probably raise the most money, but he has only been commissioner for one year, she said. She said Robinson has shown he’s unable to beat DeFazio. She sees Strek’s youth as a liability.

Boice could not be reached for comment Tuesday. His website stresses the importance of restoring timber jobs and managing public lands for sustainable timber harvests. The website also includes a promise to uphold the U.S. Constitution, with particular emphasis on the First and Second Amendments.

Reporter Carisa Cegavske can be reached at 541-957-4213 or ccegavske@nrtoday.com.

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Senior Reporter

Carisa Cegavske is the senior reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at 541-957-4213 or by email at ccegavske@nrtoday.com. Follow her on Twitter @carisa_cegavske

(9) comments

Perkins4Oregon

Thank you Carisa for the interview and article.
I realize, due to space constraints, the editor and the journalist make decisions on the length of every article, which unfortunately leaves out some details. Therefore, I am taking this opportunity to expound on a few items and to let the readers know they can learn more about Jo Rae Perkins at Perkins4Oregon.com
Immigration - rather illegal immigration: We do need to build the wall to keep out not only illegal immigrants, but to slow down the flow of illegal drugs into the U.S.
Spending: Every man, woman and child carries a debt of more than $63,000 of federal debt and growing by the nano-second. Our members of Congress, the U.S. House and Senate - both parties, are guilty of voting to increase the debt, which now exceeds $20 Trillion, this is unsustainable. Federal expenditures are roughly two percent higher than taxes / revenue collected; this means the federal government is spending more money than they have. It is time for a Constitutional Amendment to Cap the Debt, no more debt ceiling increases, Reduce Expenditures, and Balance the Budget, without new or increased taxes and fees. We can pay down the debt. It will mean making some major cutbacks. However, if you want the United States to continue to be a viable, sovereign, and solvent country, cutbacks are needed.
Veterans should be able to pick up the phone, call their doctors' office and make an appointment just like you and I. The very idea, under Veterans' Choice, our vets call a centralized appointment center, only to be informed someone will call them back in 10 days (often is beyond 10 days), with the date, time, and name of the doctor, is unacceptable. This must change.
Our military must be better trained and must have equipment that is up to date and properly supported. The primary - the Number One responsibility of our Federal (National) Government is to protect U.S. Citizens and legal residents from all enemies, foreign and domestic, protect our sovereignty and well-being.
Federal agencies and the bureaucracy have much more than they should have; power they are not supposed to have. Many of the rules and regulations implemented are in violation of the U.S. Constitution. Article 10 of the U.S. Constitution states, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
Term Limits: No one should be serving in Congress (House and Senate) for more than 12 years combined. I will work towards a Constitutional amendment to implement term limits.
For more information on issues voters have discussed with me, please visit the campaign website: Perkins4Oregon.com
If you are tired of out of touch politicians spending your money and want to have a Main Street American stand for you, boldly, I ask for your vote. If you want a representative that will read the bills before she votes and scrubs the bills to make sure they are not in violation of the U.S. Constitution, boldly, I ask for your vote. If you want a pro-life, Constitutional Conservative that understands and has gone through many ups and downs, just like many Main Street Americans, boldly, I ask for your vote. When I am elected, you will be able to contact me directly. Should you call me, If I am available, I will answer my phone. My philosophy for years has been and will continue to be, those in service to others should be available and accessible.
If you have questions or comments, please send an email to me directly via the campaign website as I will not be reading the other comments on this post. May 2018 be a blessed and prosperous year for each of you. Jo Rae Perkins.

mysteron

Looking forward to the Fifthpeet.

Rich

Alex Jones Divorce Case Says InfoWars Host Just a Character | Time.com
A lawyer for Jones recently said the conspiracy theorist is merely playing a character when he speaks via his InfoWars channels. “He’s playing a character,” attorney Randall Wilhite said during a recent pretrial hearing. “He is a performance artist.”
The Austin American-Statesman reports Jones is in the middle of a custody battle, and his ex-wife and mother of his three children, Kelly Jones, has said his fiery rants prove he is not a fit parent. “He’s not a stable person,” Kelly Jones has said, according to the Statesman. “He broadcasts from home. The children are there, watching him broadcast.”

Rich

The federal government has no constitutional authority to make ANY laws dictating who may and who may not carry arms; or under what circumstances people may and may not carry arms across State borders! Arms control of the people is not an enumerated power!

video on arms, here it is: https://vimeo.com/60944105

State concealed carry laws which require a "permit" is an idea crafted in the pits of h ell. The real purpose is to register gun owners! People think it is so cool to have a permit for concealed carry - they don't understand that it is like the free sample of heroin.

NJ

Enlarge your perspective: https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/second_amendment

OregonHusker

Looks like Pete will get my vote again.

just me

i really wish robinson would go away

NJ

Strek, the young "staunch - 110%" Trump supporter with a gun fixation concerns me more. He offers no experience or wisdom of the issues. He needs to actually work on what he believes in first.

Momos

Trump's approval rating is below 40%, so they've automatically tied themselves to a loser. (Also see the general election results.) Guns, timber, urine and Alex Jones for talking points. Numerous failed runs for public office. It isn't that voters are in love with DeFazio. They're just not seeing a viable alternative from Republicans.

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