Oliver: Now is the time to start paying attention to the 2020 Election

With the impeachment inquiry taking the spotlight, many have shifted their attention away from the crowded 2020 election field. New candidates, such as billionaire businessman Michael Bloomberg and former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, have rolled out policy proposals to start their campaigns.

It is imperative to start paying attention to the 2020 election cycle now because over the course of the campaign, the candidates may shift their stances to what they believe will make them win. It is important that you monitor those changes, from your presidential favorite to your congressperson, to fully understand what they plan to do when elected. 

This spring, registered democrats in Oregon's 4th District will vote in the first democratic primary election in over 30 years. Congressman Peter DeFazio and head of the Transportation Committee, who has held his seat in the House of Representatives for 33 years, is facing a challenger. 

Democrat Doyle Canning, a community organizer and law graduate from the University of Oregon, is running an insurgent campaign. She is a progressive who vows to relieve student debt, fight for climate action and Medicare for all. If elected, Canning would be the first woman to ever represent the district. 

After the democratic primary election on May 19, 2020, one of these candidates will face a Republican challenger in the general election. 

Jo Rae Perkins is a realtor and business owner who was moved to run for this position because it was something that “God had put on her heart,'' Perkins said in a welcome video on her website. She is a pro-life advocate, strong 2nd Amendment supporter and hopes to reduce the federal deficit, that has accumulated to increase at a rate of over one trillion dollars a year.

First known as one of three men who stopped a terrorist attack on a Paris-bound train in 2015, Alek Scarlatos is a former Oregon national guardsman who hopes to bring economic opportunities to Southern Oregon by eliminating tax burdens. The 27-year-old is running to bring increased economic opportunity to middle class families and loggers in the district. 

Both Perkins and Scarlatos are running to bring Republican values to Oregon's 4th district for the first time in 33 years. 

Voters should pay attention to these campaigns now, to gauge character, watch for shifts in policy positions and take action by spreading the word about their first choice candidate. 

While these campaigns are still at the beginning stages, there is an opportunity  to influence the campaign by sharing issues that are especially important to you and your family. All of the candidates are building their platforms based on what their constituents want. If you educate yourself about the candidates now, you could potentially shape their campaign into something you can truly get behind. 

Get involved in local politics. Go check out a campaign HQ office and meet the interns, or try phone banking for the first time. Living in a democracy does not mean you can vote every four years and give yourself a pat on the back. It requires more than that to keep people power.