NAME: Eileen Kiely

AGE: 59

RESIDENCE: Sunriver

EDUCATION: Wright State University, BFA; University of Minnesota, MBA

NAME: Bill Trumble

AGE: 72

RESIDENCE: Redmond

EDUCATION: Washington State University, B.S.; University of Texas Health Science Center, Ph.D.

Democrats are fond of talking about a “blue wave” of voter discontent in 2018 against President Donald Trump that they can ride to victories is races previously thought unwinnable.

Usually the subjects of these hopes want to run for Congress or a governorship. But a “blue wave” is likely needed to carry a Democrat to Salem in House District 53.

When the political mapmakers drew up districts following the last census in 2010, they concentrated nearly all of the Democrats in the Bend area into House District 54. All of the Republican-heavy suburbs and nearby towns were put in District 53, which takes in a small part of Bend but otherwise surrounds it.

Two Democrats are vying to be the underdog to replace longtime Rep. Gene Whisnant, R-Sunriver, who is retiring. It will be a tough chore, with Democrats nearly 4,000 registered voters behind Republicans. But first comes the May 15 primary, where only registered Democrats can vote.

Eileen Kiely, of Sunriver, is a “semi-retired” business professional who now teaches skiing part time at Mt. Bachelor.

Bill Trumble, of Redmond, is a retired scientist, business professional and academic.

The Bulletin asked each candidate the same four questions:

Question 1: Gov. Kate Brown says she will sign legislation passed by the Democratic-controlled Legislature to disconnect the Oregon tax code from the federal tax code so that a portion of the tax cut passed by the Republican-­controlled Congress would not be replicated on state returns. Proponents of the law said it would create a $250 million hole in the state budget. Opponents said it amounts to a $250 million tax increase. How would you have voted?

Kiely: Yes.

I agree with separating the tax codes. Oregon’s revenue structure is already regressive — meaning that too much of the burden falls on the shoulders of hardworking Oregonians. We collect 11 times as much from individual taxes as we do corporate taxes. Pass-through taxes from business may be included in individual taxes, but not all these companies are small. The pass-though cap in this bill prevents wealthy S-corporations from excessively benefiting from protections meant to assist small Oregon businesses. We need to restructure corporate taxes to balance the burden from small business to large corporations. We should consider a company’s Oregon revenues and balance them with what they contribute to Oregon in terms of living-wage jobs and property taxes.

Trumble: Yes.

I would support the legislation to change the Oregon income tax law. The tax cuts passed by the Republican-led Congress gave small and temporary benefits to most individuals but large and permanent benefits to a few of the very rich and to corporations. For Oregon to lose $250 million in revenue would mean a loss of health care for already challenged families, smaller support for schools, fewer incentives for small businesses, and increased debt or weakened programs for the state as it tried to find replacement funds. I support strengthening the role and abilities of the state.

Question 2: For the past two sessions of the Legislature, a group of Bend-area homeowners and some environmental groups have tried to have a law passed to ban a bridge across the Deschutes River on the border between the 53rd and 54th districts. Both times the legislation has stalled in committee. Rep. Whisnant supported the bridge ban, but the Bend Park & Recreation District opposed it. Would you submit a bill for a bridge ban, or support legislation for a ban submitted by another lawmaker?

Kiely: No.

The Oregon Scenic Waterways Act already prevents a bridge being built in this area, so a bill to ban it is unnecessary. Bend Park & Recreation District has sought a waiver and been denied multiple times. I would like to see more recreation opportunities in the South Urban Growth Boundary and a path from Sunriver to Tumalo that is friendly to dogs and bikes. I support BPRD’s decision to re-evaluate its plan; and once completed, I would work with the stakeholders to determine if state assistance or legislation is needed to accomplish the goal.

Trumble: No.

I would oppose a ban on the bridge. However, each side has offered good arguments. The pedestrian bridge would allow greater access to trails for lots of people and would decrease driving to trail heads. Recreation is at the heart of Deschutes County culture. Alternatively, it could disrupt wildlife and experience overuse. I support a compromise first made by Sen. Tim Knopp, R-Bend, to allow this bridge to be built, but with clear legislation to prevent any future bridges in the State Scenic River area.

Question 3: What one issue would you champion if you are elected?

Kiely: Health care.

We all agree that everybody should get to see the doctor when they need it. A high-impact, low-cost legislative initiative that helps hardworking Central Oregonians is an Oregon Health Plan buy-in option. According to December 2016 census data, Deschutes County is 10 points below the national average for employer-provided health care, 22 percent of us buy our own insurance, and 14 percent have no insurance at all. In Deschutes County, our insurance premiums are the highest in all of Oregon. OHP buy-in would work towards solving all these problems.

Trumble: Political civility.

My “signature issue” is ensuring that civility and truth remain a standard for Oregon politics. As a scientist, teacher and administrator, I know that data and knowledge are necessary for the best decisions. A divisive and partisan culture, lacking in civility, prevents getting the best information from all sides. Discussions often devolve into unproductive, hateful rhetoric and claims of “fake news.” My promise is that I will honestly listen to your issues and concerns at meetings both in Salem and in our district. I will get all the facts and data before making decisions and encourage civil discussion and compromise. Even if we don’t agree, you will always know where I stand on issues.

Question 4: Why are you a better choice to represent House District 53 than your opponent?

Kiely: Oregon has some serious financial challenges that need to be addressed — for example, finding permanent funding for OHP and creating a plan to manage our obligations to public servants, teachers and first responders by funding their retirement plan (PERS). We need legislators who have experience breaking down difficult financial issues into solvable pieces and in negotiating with diverse parties until we have a solution. I have decades of business experience helping people pay for and execute good ideas. I can bring a strong negotiating voice to the table for Central Oregon. I retired from Daimler (a Fortune 500 corporation) — managed financial operations and controlling, pricing and purchasing negotiations. MBA from University of Minnesota. Navy veteran. Current outdoor leader and instructor. I am endorsed by NARAL and OEA and recognized as a Moms Demand Action Gun Sense Candidate.

Trumble: I am not running against anyone, but for issues important to Oregon. My experience differentiates me from others. I am a Vietnam veteran, have a Ph.D. in medical physiology, am a scientist, researcher and teacher, a small-business owner, a college dean, a State Agricultural Experiment station director, and a provost and vice president for academic affairs at two universities. I have been a member of a State Conservation Commission and State Land Use Board, and a director of two USDA National Research Projects. Community service is important to me and I have served on the American Heart Association board and city water board, and as a local Home Owners Association president. I have managed large departments and universitywide budgets, brought together conflicting groups to solve problems, and written and reviewed both state and federal legislation.

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

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