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BEND, OR -- Republican Gubernatorial candidate Dr. Bud Pierce made a campaign swing through Bend, Wednesday. Pierce tells KBND News visits to the various regions of the state are an important part of his campaign, ahead of the May 17 primary. "You have to meet the people; you have to hear their message. And, I’m actually firmly convinced, if I’m successfully elected as Governor, I need to do the same as Governor. You need to be out there, hear the stories in an unfiltered, unvarnished way." He met with veterans in Bend, toured the Central Oregon Veteran’s Ranch and spoke to the Sunriver Republican Women’s Group.


Dr. Pierce says getting Oregonians into meaningful employment is one of his top priorities. "While we report that we have a low unemployment rate, it’s a low unemployment rate among the people that are being counted. There are so many people living on the streets, the mentally ill in prisons and other people we just don’t count anymore. We need to bring those people back in because the social cost and the moral cost of seeing that failure on a day to day basis is really grinding at us, and is really harming our state."


The Salem oncologist has never served in elected office before. He's running against Bruce Cuff, Bob Niemeyer and Allen Alley for the GOP nomination. Pierce admits Alley, a Lake Oswego businessman and former chair of the Oregon Republican Party, is his leading opposition. "It’s exciting. I think that competition brings out the best in people. It allows people to define themselves and their opposition in more precise ways. I think it’s good for the citizens because citizens like competitive political races; and when it’s one-sided, there’s no competition they really tune it out."


He says he's already looking forward to facing Governor Kate Brown in the general election. But, he’s already looking ahead to facing Kate Brown in the general election. "It’s going to be about, number 1: public safety. And, the issue there is getting the homeless off the streets, getting them to shelter and recovery, and getting them to be productive citizens; and dealing with that mental health issue that’s bedeviling us with half our prisoners in jail that have mental health issues, 70% of juveniles and a lot of homeless people. Second, is that drive to get to real, full employment."

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