Bend city Councilor Nathan Boddie has entered the 2018 Democratic primary for the state House seat representing the city.

Boddie will run in House District 54, a seat being vacated by Republican Rep. Knute Buehler so he can run for the GOP nomination for governor.

“For too long, the people of Bend have lacked a strong voice in Salem,” Boddie said in a statement announcing his candidacy.

Boddie is the first candidate to step forward since Buehler officially announced on Aug. 2 that he would not run for re-election and instead would seek the job currently held by Gov. Kate Brown.

Boddie said that if elected, he would champion the same issues in Salem as he has as a member of the Bend City Council since 2014.

“We need to make Bend affordable for everyone who lives and works here — in housing, health care and cost of living — and better fund our schools, put more teachers in our classrooms, and make college more affordable.”

The House seat for Bend is one of the linchpin races for both Democrats and Republicans. Though the district has a Democratic voter registration edge, Republicans have held the district since Jason Conger unseated Democrat Judy Stiegler in 2010.

Democrats are currently one seat short of a supermajority in the House. A switch of one seat would allow Democrats to pass tax hikes without having to negotiate with Republicans.

Boddie, a physician like Buehler, has been involved in shaping Bend’s rapid growth. He was a key advocate for regulating vacation rental properties in Bend and for statewide renter protection laws to slow speculative property buying.

“Now more than ever, we need to be smart about how Bend grows,” Boddie said. “The cost of unrestrained growth is being paid for by current Bend residents and will have a lasting impact on our quality of life if we don’t tackle these issues intelligently.”

Boddie also has a graduate degree in environmental science, and worked as a whitewater river guide and ski patroller. He is on the boards of the Deschutes River Conservancy and Upper Deschutes Watershed Council and is an active supporter of Planned Parenthood.

— Reporter: 541-525-5280, gwarner@bendbulletin.com

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