Oregon House District 7 includes South Lane and North Douglas counties, including Winchester, Sutherlin, Oakland, Yoncalla, Elkton and Glide.
Republicans and Democrats each have just one candidate on the May 15 primary ballot for state representative in House District 7.
Incumbent Cedric Hayden, a Republican, will face Democrat Christy Inskip in the November election.
Inskip, 38, of Cottage Grove is a senior community health analyst for Lane County Public Health. She has not held elected office, but said she has been a “passionate, hard-working, dedicated public servant.” Prior to moving to Oregon, Inskip worked as a senior epidemiology specialist, environmental specialist, research analyst and health educator for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
Inskip said in those jobs she worked to ensure transparency and make sure taxpayer funds were spent responsibly and effectively. She also said her work has given her experience in planning and community engagement.
Inskip grew up low-income and without health insurance on a farm in the rural Missouri Ozarks, an area she said is similar to District 7. She said she understands many people here are struggling, and she knows what that’s like. She said she wants to make this district the best place to live, work and play.
She said district residents need living wage jobs, small business support, affordable housing access, quality education, and access to affordable, quality health care, mental health care and substance abuse treatment.
She said she would continue using the skills she’s learned to bring people together, including visiting communities across the district, bringing all voices to the table, asking questions, listening and working together on common sense solutions.
Inskip is behind the incumbent in fundraising for her campaign, having garnered $2,599 in contributions compared to Hayden’s $19,014. Inskip’s donations have mostly been from individuals contributing $100 or less, while Hayden has attracted bigger donors, including out-of-state corporations like Caremark, Weyerhaueser and Albertsons Safeway.
Hayden, 50, is a dentist from Fall Creek in rural Lane County, and also works in heavy equipment construction and wildland firefighting. He has served in the Legislature since 2015, where he has worked primarily on health care issues.
Hayden is the son of former state legislator Cedric Hayden Sr., who served in the state House from 1985 to 1996 and from 2000 to 2002. Prior elected offices Hayden Jr. held included high school president and dental school senior class vice president. He also served 15 years on a medical dental board of directors with the agency that became the Oregon Health Authority.
Hayden founded Caring Hands Worldwide, a nonprofit organization that provides dental care to low-income families and veterans, in 2007. He has said it was the red tape he faced when attempting to expand that charity which motivated his first run for office.
“(I) started with wanting to solve a problem with being able to provide free access to low-income dental care for community members,” he said.
During his tenure in the Legislature, Hayden has sponsored legislation to bring funding to rural hospitals and to improve access to mental health, primary and preventative care.
“(Inskip) preaches public health. I provide it,” Hayden said.
Hayden said reasons to vote for him over Inskip in November include his support for Second Amendment rights as well as his efforts to provide relief for rural small businesses and communities.