BEND, OR -- Former Representative and Gubernatorial Candidate, Dr. Knute Buehler is working in politics again, but this time, he's fundraising for District 54 Representative, Cheri Helt, and her 2020 reelection campaign.
Buehler, who represented District 54 for 4 years, says it's been awhile since he talked to donors, but it's important to him that Helt keeps the seat. 54 has always been one of the most competitive districts in the state. "Overwhelming Democrat district now, which has been held by republicans most often, Republicans who are more independent-minded." He believes Helt's moderate viewpoints speak to Bend's independent voters, but he doesn't think 2020 will be as easy for her as 2018 was when the Democrat challenger was embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal and the Working Party candidate was accused of lying in the Voter's Pamphlet. "I suspect there'll be a robust challenge by the Democrats, since it is such a Democratic advantage, registration advantage in the district now."
Buehler's belief is that Democratic advantage comes from gerrymandering. "The incumbents, who are in the legislature, draw their district boundaries safer and safer, so they have an easier time getting reelected." He says, drawing district lines in private doesn't properly represent citizens. "Unfortunately, it doesn't create enough competitive Districts so the voters don't have the advantage of hearing from 2 candidates on a regular basis." He's on a mission to bring transparency to drawing district lines, working on a measure that could be on the ballot by 2020 that would discourage gerrymandering and put districting decisions in the hands of voters.
Buehler says Oregon can and should be doing better, and the best way is to vote in independent thinkers for positions of leadership, and his goal is to pursue what he thinks is best for Oregon, without having to be an elected official. "What I'm looking for is to support good people and good ideas, and I want to see independent leadership to fix the big problems in Oregon that have been ignored for way too long."
Helt is up for reelection in November of 2020.