The Tillamook County Pioneer sent five questions to Tillamook County candidates for State Representative for House District 10 (south Tillamook County); House District 32 (Central/north Tillamook County); Tillamook County Board of Commissioners; and Tillamook PUD Board Candidates.
Over the next week, we will publish the candidates’ answers, beginning with candidates for state representative. It is our belief that voters need as much information about the candidates as possible, and many can’t make it to public forums and events, and the ads, social media, postcards, brochures do not always give an accurate view.
It is our intention to provide the opportunity for voters to compare the candidates on a level playing field.
MEET THE CANDIDATES:
Brian Halvorsen, Independent/Progressive Candidate for House District #32
1. Why do you want this position, and why are you the best person for it?
I want to be a representative for the people, not large corporations and special interest groups. As an Independent, I won’t be beholden the leadership of any party and will work across the aisle to enact common sense legislation like campaign finance reform.
2. What will you do to make a difference for Tillamook County?
We need to improve our infrastructure. Many of our roads and bridges need to be repaired and that will be a top priority of mine in Salem. Traffic fatalities on our highways should not be a regular way of life. Part of the funding for infrastructure should come through a redistribution of the Tillamook County Transient Lodging Tax. Too much of the tax revenue currently is being used on promotion of tourism and not maintenance of the roads.
3. What are your main/top priorities?
Oregon desperately needs campaign finance reform. Our elections are being flooded with money from the wealthy and special interest groups due to our broken campaign finance laws, which allows for unlimited sums to be donated to campaigns. Oregon is one of just seven states in the nation with no limits on campaign spending or donations. I will fight the leadership of both parties to enact limits on spending and donations to campaigns. If the legislature continues to do nothing, I’ll be working with a group to petition for a ballot measure which would enact campaign finance reform. The grassroots group has already been successful in passing campaign finance reform in Multnomah County by nearly 90% of the vote.
Income inequality is out of control. The rich are getting richer and working people haven’t seen any significant raises in their wages in over four decades, when adjusted for inflation. I support increasing taxes on the wealthy and large corporations, who are reaping the benefits of a robust economy but aren’t paying their fair share. Oregon has one of the lowest business tax burdens in the nation. I support tax breaks for small businesses, but large profitable corporations like Intel and Comcast shouldn’t get sweetheart tax deals.
4. Provide a SWOT analysis of Tillamook County – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats
Brian Halvorsen Tillamook Pioneer questionnaire
Strengths: Our beautiful natural environment, active community involvement, multiple recreation and tourist destinations
Weaknesses: Crumbing roads and bridges that need to be fixed, better accessibility in our communities for people with disabilities, increased access to quality healthcare (especially in rural Tillamook County)
Opportunities: An abundance of jobs, unoccupied homes that we need to incentivize owners to rent out long-term, plenty of land for necessary development
Threats: As someone who was in high school and college during the most recent financial crash, I believe we need to do more now that our economy is doing better to prepare for another economic downturn. If we don’t get housing figured out now, we will have a much bigger problem on our hands if a crash were to happen. We have unoccupied homes in our communities and need to move to incentivize owners to rent them out long-term or sell them, so there are places to live for workers. A possible solution would be a vacancy tax. I also believe we should move to end multiple home mortgage deductions which allow people to get tax breaks on more than one home. That might incentivize some of the part-time vacation homeowners to rent or sell their houses to people who live here full-time.
5. Please describe your vision for Tillamook County.
I love living in Tillamook County and couldn’t imagine a better place to be. That’s not saying I don’t see room for improvement, but we are at a great starting point. As stated above, I’d like to see a Tillamook County where the workers can share in the benefits of our community more equally. I’d also like to see our infrastructure improved, which is needed to curb the epidemic of traffic fatalities our highways.