BEND, OR -- The Democrat challenging Deschutes County Commissioner Tony DeBone in November is a political newcomer who says she always knew she’d run for office at some point. Amy Lowes had no opposition in the primary; she kicked off her campaign in earnest, last week.
Lowes says her platform is based on the big issues she’s hearing are important to voters, "And what keeps coming back repeatedly is increased access to mental health and addiction services, as well as intelligent management of our growth, protecting our natural resources; and it’s all linked together with affordable housing, which is a big issue for a lot of people that I’ve spoken with."
DeBone was first elected in 2010. He was re-elected in 2014 with a 10% margin over his Democratic challenger. Lowes admits she has a tough fight ahead, but believes her experience as a hospice nurse provides a unique and valuable perspective. And, she says the Board of County Commissioners would benefit from her healthcare background, "I’ve been a resident of Deschutes County for 21 years, and my experiences as a nurse, going out into the community has really helped me understand the culture of our county – not just Bend and Redmond and Sisters, but the rural areas, as well. And, I’ve also learned how to really advocate for the needs of the people that might be different from the people in the cities."
Lowes was raised in Washington, D.C. by Republican parents. She tells KBND News growing up around different perspectives in a highly political area taught her the importance of listening to all sides. She says she is most closely aligned with Democrats on healthcare issues, "I registered as a Democrat originally so I could vote in primaries. But, I will say that I do not vote along party lines; I’ve multiple times voted for Republican candidates."
Her campaign signs include the Venus symbol, to highlight her gender, along with the phrase “Time for change.” Lowes says being a woman doesn’t make her more qualified to be a County Commissioner, but she believes it’s time the board was more representative of the community, "Fifty-percent of the population is made up of woman and we’ve only had about 19% of us having a seat at the table."