Oregon Governor candidates debate in Eugene over state issues

A Eugene high school’s auditorium was the scene of a live radio debate, where the 2016 Oregon governor candidates highlighted differences on plans to solve state-wide issues.

Incumbent Democratic Governor Kate Brown, Republican Bud Pierce, and Independent Cliff Thomason debated over Oregon issues, including Measure 97 and domestic violence, on Oct. 6 at Winston Churchill High School. Thursday’s face-off, the third in a series of five debates, was aired live on Oregon Public Broadcasting radio, and was moderated by its Think Out Loud show host David Miller.

The 2016 Oregon gubernatorial special election on Nov. 8 will determine who will take the remaining two years of former Democratic governor John Kitzhaber, who resigned in 2015.

Brown is a supporter of Measure 97 — which would set a 2.5 percent tax on corporations with sales that exceed $25 million. Revenue from the tax would then be used to fund education, health care and senior services.

“It think that it is time for Oregonians to pay their fair share,” Brown said. “My opponent Dr. Pierce would have you bear most of the full weight of paying for basic public services.”

Pierce opposes the ballot measure due to findings by the Legislative Revenue Office, which states that Measure 97 would eliminate 38,000 private sector jobs by 2022, and the average family will pay $600 more in goods and services annually. Instead, Pierce favors tax cuts as a route to Oregon’s prosperity.

Thomason also opposes Measure 97 for similar reasons, but wants to bring sales tax back to Oregon — one of four states not to have it — to generate revenue.

“I don’t think that it is right that we channel a gross sales tax on a thousand businesses when it could be spread out amongst more Oregonians,” Thomason said.

The Oregon gubernatorial race gained national attention after Pierce’s remarks on domestic violence at last week’s debate. Pierce had said women that have “a great education and training and a great job, [are] not susceptible to this kind of abuse.”

He apologized again Thursday evening and, answering how to prevent domestic violence — which has, along with sexual assault, affected between 700,000 and 1 million women and girls in Oregon — said that it requires a cultural shift.

“It is going to take society to change the way they view allowing people to abuse or harm other people,” he said.

Brown, who revealed during last week’s debate that she is a domestic violence survivor, responded.

“I will leave this up to the 1 million girls and women in this state that have been impacted by domestic violence or sexual assault.”

Brown followed up by mentioning her history of increasing penalties on those who commit domestic and sexual violence.

Thomason said the government needs to look into causes of domestic violence, including stress, economic instability, or substance abuse.

“A lot of economic instability is from people who are at or just below the poverty line,” he said. “We are not doing enough in Oregon to bring people out of that level.”

A Sept. 13 iCitizen poll, which was conducted among 610 Oregon registered voters, showed that 44 percent of respondents would vote for Kate Brown, 27 percent for Bud Pierce and 3 percent for Cliff Thomason. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

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Andrew Field

Andrew Field

Former Japan Times intern. Daily Emerald reporter and FishDuck editor. Tokyo-Singapore-Houston-Eugene, but Oregonian forever. West Ham United and Portland Timbers fan.

If you got a tip for me on an issue you feel I should be covering, don't hesitate to leave me an email ([email protected]).