On September 22, 2021, I walked into the county clerk’s office and filed the necessary paperwork to declare my candidacy for Deschutes County Commissioner. The next morning’s edition of the Bulletin reported that I was motivated to run when my opponent, Tony DeBone, refused to recommend basic public health measures in the face of the Delta wave of COVID-19. It’s worth noting that my announcement appeared under an article about St. Charles bringing in a refrigerated truck to handle the overflow from the hospital morgue.
We need to lean into programs like Healthy Schools,
A year later, President Biden has declared the pandemic over, as Covid is no longer threatening to overwhelm our hospitals. But public health – and the many other health services our county provides – remain more important than ever. Our local hospitals, nursing facilities, and EMS agencies are under enormous financial strain and face dire staffing shortages, underscoring the urgent need for investments in prevention. That means we need to lean into programs like Healthy Schools, the innovative partnership between Deschutes County Public Health and Bend-La Pine Schools to prevent substance use, teen pregnancy, and suicide. DeBone has voted against Healthy Schools three years in a row.
Moreover, the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade shines a light on the important work of the providers at our county’s safety net Reproductive Health clinic, where women can seek family planning services regardless of their ability to pay. DeBone brags about his endorsement by anti-abortion groups, and voted to deny health insurance coverage for county employees and their families seeking abortion care as required by state law.
We need new leadership with vision and a willingness to take action
We need new leadership with vision and a willingness to take action, not only in health services (the county’s biggest department), but also in departments that can help keep Deschutes County affordable, livable, and safe. For example, we desperately need new housing, but DeBone stubbornly refuses to take meaningful steps to address the housing crisis. Instead he advocates for sprawl and blames the state’s land use system for his own inaction. We also need to be smart and proactive about preventing wildfire, but our county’s Natural Resources department has lost its entire staff. In today’s economic environment, we have to support the people doing the work and fight to retain them.
What you can do to help bring change!
Fortunately, we have an opportunity to set our county on a new path, guided by vision and action-oriented leadership. This campaign is one year old, and your ballot will arrive by mail next month. Your vote in this race matters. But there is so much mor
- Put out a lawn sign to raise my name recognition. (Request a lawn sign here.)
- Volunteer to knock on doors for me and other progressive candidates. (Sign up for Bend or Redmond.)
- Host a house party to introduce me to your friends and neighbors. (Email us to schedule a date.)
- Donate to the campaign.
We’ve raised over $60,000, DeBone has raised over $100,000.
Over the past year, we’ve raised over $60,000 for this campaign. THANK YOU to all who have contributed. Soon you’ll see our advertising campaign kick into high gear. That begins on October 1, when our billboard (pictured above) goes live on northbound Highway 97 between Bend and Redmond. That will be followed by radio, newspaper, and digital advertising through election day.
DeBone has raised over $100,000, and we expect he’ll raise another $50,000 before the election is over. We can’t let the fundraising machine of the 12-year incumbent run away with this election. We need your help to get the word out about the importance of this race and the choice voters face between accepting the broken status quo and forging a new path forward.
So please: Grab a lawn sign. Chip in what you can. And, most importantly, talk to your friends and neighbors and encourage them to vote all the way down the ballot. This election is going to be incredibly close and every vote counts.