BEND, OR -- Two locals are vying for the Democrat nomination for retiring Representative Gene Whisnant's House District 53 seat.
Retired scientist and Vietnam veteran, Dr. Bill Trumble has been following the short session and is interested in several issues, especially those involving health care. "The most important one to me is health care as a right. I believe in health care for all and I think that that's an issue we can now talk about because its time has come." Sunriver businesswoman and veteran Eileen Kiely says she's heartened by the passing of the 'boyfriend' loophole bill, as she believes there should be reasonable gun control regulations in place. "I know there is an awful lot of rhetoric around gun safety. It is up to the government to take reasonable public safety controls, and that's something that I felt is better handled by State government."
Trumble says he thinks Whisnant wasn't as available to the people of District 53 as he should've been. If elected, he has a plan to change that. "Every other week, or at least every month, I would have a meeting, convenient for the citizens of the District to talk to me, and to find out what their issues are. To listen." Kiely says, with her background in finance and negotiations, she believes she'd be effective in a bipartisan fashion. "I have a lot of experience of sitting across the table from people who do not agree with me. When we're negotiating for the people of Oregon, I'm looking for long-term solutions."
Both Trumble and Kiely want to change what they perceive as a lack of importance placed on Central Oregon's issues by Salem. Trumble says he has a lot of experience in academia, medicine and research, the military, and business, and he believes that experience qualifies as its own kind of diversity. "Gee, is there anything worse than another old, white guy running for office? And I would say to that, 'Yes, there is. It's a young, white person who doesn't have the experience to do the job well'." Kiely believes, with her skills, she can have an effect on the current climate. "Because of this polarization that's very popular in our politics right now, we've been more willing to take sides according to our party, than stay at the table and get the best possible solutions."
Two Republicans have filed to run for the seat, as well: Ben Schimmoller and Jack Zika. The primary election is May 15.