Dallas Heard doesn’t want your vote in the House District 2 race, even though his name remains on the May 15 Republican primary ballot.
That’s because the former state representative has a new job. He was recently appointed interim senator for state Senate District 1 — the job Jeff Kruse gave up in March.
Heard joined the Senate too late to pull his name off the ballot, but he doesn’t want his old job back, and he’s endorsing the other Republican candidate for House District 2, Gary Leif.
Leif, a Douglas County commissioner, was appointed interim state representative for House District 2 on Monday. On Saturday, Republican precinct committee persons also voted for him to appear as the Republicans’ nominee in November.
That way, even if voters are confused this month and choose Heard, who, again, doesn’t want the job, Leif will move forward to the general election.
Heard is hoping to win an election in November to keep serving in his new Senate seat.
Democrats have a much simpler House District 2 primary choice. Megan Salter is the only candidate on their ballot for the post. She and Leif will square off in November.
House District 2 covers Roseburg and most of South Douglas County, along with small chunks of rural Josephine and Jackson counties.
Here’s what Leif and Salter had to say about their candidacies:
Leif, 61, of Roseburg is a Douglas County commissioner who ran a well-known photo studio for 40 years.
He is a former Winston First Citizen with a long history of government and community service. When he lived in Winston, prior to moving to Roseburg, he served on the Winston Planning Commission and the Winston/Dillard Fire Board.
He has also been president of the Winston Area Chamber of Commerce, chairman of the Downtown Roseburg Association, and Vice Chairman of the Roseburg Visitor and Convention Commission. He served on the Coastal Ports Advisory Commission, which brought hundreds of thousands of dollars to fix connector highways between Interstate 5 and the coast, and he has served on numerous nonprofit boards, for organizations with missions ranging from helping the homeless to keeping kids off drugs to promoting solar energy.
As a county commissioner, Leif headed the Library Futures Task Force and helped local libraries work out ways to reopen after voters rejected a countywide library district. He said he also worked to increase transparency by conducting after-hours meetings and maintaining an “outstanding social-media presence.” He also had cameras turned so online viewers could see citizens speaking to the board of commissioners at its Wednesday meetings.
Leif said his experience as a business owner, land developer and county commissioner give him a unique voice that’s critical to representing the people of Southern Oregon.
“Southern Oregon is a special place where business owners, nonprofit organizations, and the elected officials form a team that focuses on economic development, along with support systems underpinning our children and families during their time of need. We face the challenge of a changing economic landscape combined with a lack of focus, support, and understanding from the Legislature,” he said.
Leif said he wants to represent rural Oregon’s economic needs, so the state can be more balanced, instead of representing only the urban areas.
“Rural Oregon is a land of hard working people who believe in family values and the American dream. I know the dreams and aspirations of our district and ask for your vote so that I can carry those hopes and needs to the Legislature,” he said.
Salter, 36, of Roseburg is a homemaker and community advocate. She has served as a Democratic precinct committee person and is a member of the Douglas County Democrats’ executive committee and vice chairwoman for the Democratic Party of Oregon women’s caucus. She is a former pre-school teacher and a school booster club parent who said she has learned to collaborate with others, capitalize on different ideas and make decisions about how to spend funds.
Salter said she decided to run for office while attending town halls about the future of the library system.
“I became frustrated and disheartened by the lack of collaboration between our local government and the community,” she said. “I stood in the crowded community room and listened to dozens of people discuss their ideas for keeping the library system open. Yet, it didn’t seem that our elected officials were listening or willing to work together to get things done.”
Salter said she believes more teachers, stay-at-home moms and family-wage earners need to bring their experiences to the state Legislature.
“We bring a different point of view than the status quo politicians,” she said.
Salter said she understands the difficulty of raising a family in the district, including the frustrations of trying to make ends meet and of dealing with the education system.
“I hear the cries of those devastated by our library system closing. I watch as my friends and neighbors move away because they cannot find affordable housing or a family-wage job with benefits,” she said. “It’s time to listen to new voices. It’s time to work together towards solutions.”
Salter said current government officials aren’t bringing “all voices to the table.” She said her friends and neighbors say their voices aren’t being heard, regardless what party they’re in.
“I believe we are stronger when we work together, putting aside the partisan politics and instead bring everyone to the table to find solutions that are best for our district,” she said.