Political “Tightrope” – Eugene Weekly

Oregon Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Nicholas Kristof speaks at a press conference on October 28.

A few hours before Nicholas Kristof came to see Eugene, the New York Times published his farewell essay. The essay was the former columnist’s reflection on his decades of working at the newspaper and why he was leaving him behind to run for the Oregon governor’s office.

In the essay, Kristof talks about tragedies around the world as well as the ailments his former Yamhill classmates faced: suicide, drug addiction, and homelessness. During the 15 minutes he spoke to reporters during his visit to Eugene on October 28, he discussed these issues that many Oregonians face and argued that electing the same political leadership will not change anything. . The new candidate has not provided any concrete solutions while criticizing the current Democratic leadership in Salem, but in two days he has raised a significant sum of money.

“A quarter of the children on the No.6 school bus have died,” he said, referring to the bus he took from primary school. “There are # 6 school buses all over the state. “

Kristofs’ public tour took place at SquareOne Villages in Eugene, which offers tiny houses for those in need of housing. After being given a tour of the facility by Executive Director Dan Bryant, Kristof met a handful of journalists from the Eugene area for a brief press conference, answering only one question from each of the three journalists who attended. are presented.

Kristof has said he is running as a Democrat and not an unaffiliated independent candidate like State Senator Betsy Johnson because he identifies with the political party. He is running for the Democratic primary, he said, because the party has the right ideology to tackle state challenges, such as homelessness and public safety.

Kristof is joining a race against two top Democratic Party politicians: House Speaker Tina Kotek and State Treasurer Tobias Read, both of whom have years of experience in Salem. Kristof said if the Oregonians want someone who is a career politician or lobbyist they can vote for them, but as a reporter he has worked with people who are trying to improve their lives.

“We know the system was rigged against ordinary Oregonians, and we’re not going to change that if we send the same people over and over to Salem and somehow wait for different responses,” he said. he declared. “It’s a real challenge in this state with homelessness, with public safety issues, with public education issues. But it’s also an opportunity if we learn from people who provide examples of a way forward, then we can start to make real differences.

Kristof is one of two Democrats seeking nomination for the party who lives in Yamhill County; the other is Yamhill County Commissioner Casey Kulla. In 2020, Kristof wrote Tightrope walker: Americans in search of hope about her hometown and the economic challenges she now faces.

Although Kristof’s family has owned a 20-acre farm in Yamhill County for decades, he, his wife, and his mother bought 115 acres of land near his family farm for nearly $ 1 million in cash. The family plans to use it for a vineyard.

Shortly after purchasing the property, Kristof sued his neighbor for access to an easement. The lawsuit, filed in Yamhill County Circuit Court, has been ongoing for more than six months, generating more than 500 pages of court documents. Kristof’s lawyer said Eugene Weekly that rights to the easement date back to 1959. Defendant’s attorney said the Kristofs were unhappy with their access to the highway and were trying to use the court to gain access to the property over which they had no rights .

On October 29, the day after her visit to Eugene, Kristof’s campaign reported in a press release that they received $ 105,434 in contributions over the two-day campaign. Since the 2020 general election Read received $ 172,411. And according to OreStar data, Kotek has raised $ 244,440 since January 2021.

Kristof’s campaign has 30 days to disclose the names of donors and the amount they donated, under Oregon law. In the October 29 email, Kristof’s campaign reported that it had 910 donors.

In his October 28 speech, Kristof didn’t mention any specific solutions to the problems Oregon faces, and he also said he doesn’t have a magic wand to make them go away. He doesn’t believe in “silver bullets” – instead he said he prefers “silver buckshot”. But he said the political ruling class also lacked solutions and helped create some of the state’s problems.

The challenges Oregonians face today are a reflection of the failure of the political system to address fundamental issues, he said. The people of Oregon don’t look at the issues in Portland and all over Oregon and think the state has good governance, he said. “People believe Oregon can and know it can be better,” he added.

During the 15-minute press conference, most of Kristof’s questions were related to COVID-19. He said he “has been writing about COVID since its inception and has spent time in hospitals.”

He added, “I have a long record on the COVID policy that is there for people to see. We have to follow the science. It means vaccinations, and it means masks. “

Governor Kate Brown implemented mask and vaccine warrants, which has at times been unpopular with rural communities. But Kristof said the state issue is about political division and trust. “There is an urban-rural divide here, and I know it from friends of mine in Yamhill who I care deeply about, but who refuse to be vaccinated,” he said.

As a liberal Democrat in a rural area, he added, he is in a position where voters will listen to him rather than the other two Democrats in metro areas.

“I think this state needs a new vision and new leadership to try to meet the challenges we face in this state. And to renew this state, ”he declared. “With this leadership and this vision, we can provide a brighter future for the kind of people who have been helped by SquareOne Village and the kids who ride the # 6 bus across this state, every day, these days. ”

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