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Laura's Official Deschutes County Midterm Voters' Guide, 2018

Laura's Official Deschutes County Midterm Voters' Guide, 2018

Laura Camacho
Laura Camacho

How to use this guide

The bold headlines tell you how to vote and should be in the order of your ballot, if it's anything like mine. I haven't included my thoughts on who to vote for mayor or city council of Redmond or La Pine, but I am happy to do that for you if you need me to - just contact me!

I've included summaries of why I'm voting the way I am, in case you want to be an informed voter. I'm open to discussion based on actual facts, that respects the work I've done here already. If you disagree with me philosophically to begin with, my guess is that it's going to be a waste of both our time to discuss. But if you think I've erred within my own set of beliefs, I would appreciate your input!

If you need extra help with your ballot, I'm here for you! I will bring you a stamp or drop off your sealed ballot, or even sit with you while you fill it out. I am super motivated to get voters represented, so contact me if you need help.

Representative ORD2: Jamie McLeod-Skinner

Our current rep, Walden is completely sold out to special interests and we have got to replace him. Jamie has the educational background, real-life experience, and passion to be a true representative of our incredibly diverse district. She has demonstrated a willingness to listen to her potential constituents from every walk of life, and to encourage dialogue about what will work for all of us to make this corner of Oregon healthier, wealthier, and more successful. I’m also personally excited to vote for a queer woman in Congress!

Governor: Kate Brown

People love to hate on Kate Brown and I think it’s important to ask just how much of it comes from her actual politics vs. basic internalized misogyny/sexism. I’m still sorting that out for myself. Here's a quote from the acquaintance of a friend that I have permission to share here:

"Kate Brown has an extraordinary record as Governor: saving 400,000 low-income Oregonians from losing healthcare, increasing the minimum wage, securing paid medical leave for all workers, appointing four women (two women of color) to Oregon's Supreme Court, enacting automatic voter registration, adopting a phase-out plan for coal power, making community college affordable for everyone, passing gun safety laws, imposing first-in-the-nation protections for transgender kids in school, banning gay conversion therapy, innovating the most progressive transportation package in the country, I could go on."

What I do know for sure is that Knute Buehler as governor would make Oregon an even more difficult place to thrive in. His votes have been consistently against the wellbeing of a broad range of people and needs, to the point of fiscal austerity. He was my state representative for years and while he talks like he’s a thoughtful, independent, “across-the-aisle” dude, his votes just don’t line up. He’s a doctor, and yet earlier this year voted AGAINST a state constitutional amendment that would ensure access to affordable healthcare for all Oregon residents. He voted AGAINST the bill that requires health insurance companies to cover abortions and contraceptives (although he says he’s “pro-choice,” he has no issue limiting the ability to make that choice - this is the way he puts a foot on both sides of the aisle and I have no respect for it). He has voted against raising the minimum wage in Oregon, and against several fair/accessible housing bills.

One of the main issues our state is facing is a huge debt to PERS - the public employees’ retirement system.There’s lots of commentary on how to fix this, and lots of blame being (often unfairly) thrown at Governor Brown. One of the most obvious fixes (and one that Brown supports) would be a corporate tax increase, since corporations pay less than ever (In the mid-1970s, corporations contributed about 18.5 percent of all income taxes paid in Oregon. Today, the corporate share of has shrunk to just 6.7 percent). Corporations have aggressively lobbied for tax shelters, subsidies, and loopholes - and won. Most frustratingly, voters were duped into rejecting a ballot measure in 2016 that would have raised corporate taxes by $3 billion/year.

Kate Brown may or may not be your ideal Democratic candidate, but a vote for anyone else is going to take Oregon many steps backwards and further into the Red. Keeping a Democrat in the Governor’s office is vital this year, as redistricting will happen in 2020 and Republicans will use the opportunity to continue gerrymandering themselves into unstoppable power. (Source.)

State Representative, 53rd District: Eileen Kiely

She’s not my district so I can’t vote for her, but I’m SO EXCITED about this candidate! She has a strong background in finance as well as the medical field, and her ideas about economics and healthcare in Oregon are spot on. Contrasted to her opponent, she is far more qualified, educated, experienced, and specific in her proposed solutions to Oregon’s complicated problems.

State Representative, 54th District: Cheri Helt or a symbolic NO-VOTE

Ugh, I hate everything about this. Here’s the deal. I was all excited about Nathan Boddie, whom I’ve watched and liked on City Council and in the community for years now. Then he was accused of sexual misconduct and anti-gay slurs and lost some state-level endorsements. I was shocked and it just didn’t line up with what I had seen of his stalwart support of the LGBTQ community and general progressive values; it was also very secretive and dealt with at PAC and state level, which left those of us in Bend reeling about whom to believe - our experience or the word of an anonymous witness and out-of-town emissaries (Boddie remained silent on the matter). Well, then a fellow community member bravely spoke about her experience being groped by him, thus backing up the original allegation against Boddie’s character. That was enough for me to write off voting for him (and demanding he step down from City Council). THEN his response to this accusation was absolutely despicable. EVEN IF he didn’t do anything, the way he responded to the Bend woman was so incredibly ugly, defensive, and victim-blaming that I have ZERO respect for him left. Furthermore, at the end of the summer I witnessed him standing at the fringes of a completely disgusting and misogynistic conversation (explicitly sexual in nature) IN FRONT OF MY KIDS, and he did nothing to shut it down. Gross gross gross. Do not elevate this man in any more public positions; he needs to be done. (Boddie has removed his statement, but you can read our District Attorney John Hummel’s thoughtful summary of the events.)

The other candidate on the ballot - Amanda La Bell - bowed out because she had a false claim about her education. Inadvertent or not, it cost her the race. Don’t vote for her - you’ll give Nathan Boddie more of a chance to win.

So, Cheri Helt. My biggest concern about her is that she still calls herself a Republican, while the way she talks about the issues sounds fairly Democratic/Progressive. Maybe that’s a good campaign strategy, though, because Oregon is still quite a red state. But she’s been canvassing with her good buddy Knute Buehler, which in my book is a knock against her. The company she keeps makes me not completely trust that her more progressive political leanings won’t just disappear when they become inconvenient. That said, she’s done well on our school board, has a strong pro-LGTBQ record, and says all the right things about affordable housing and healthcare and sensible gun safety laws. I would far rather have her in Salem (and keep the pressure on her to not fold to the whims of her far-right investors) than integrity-bereft disappointment that is Nathan Boddie.

Alternatively, you can choose not to vote for anyone. This will keep Cheri from getting inflated numbers, and still keep Nathan from receiving any. This is political roullette, since it is hard to tell how much support Nathan still has. That said, if he managed to squeak out a win, we would demand a full investigation into the allegations, and then install a different progressive candidate. That's a long shot, though. Cheri Helt will almost certainly get the appointment regardless of how non-GOP types vote. Our district is still very, very Red.

State Representative, 55th District: Karen Rippberger

Karen Rippberger has a servant’s heart approach to leadership that is palpable on her website. She has clearly thought a lot about the issues that Distrcit 55 deals with, and has written pretty extensively about her ideas there. You want a representative who values interfacing with her constituents.

The incumbent, Mike McLane, talks a “jobs, schools, veterans” game, but his voting record undermines everything. This fucker voted AGAINST the bill that prohibits convicted stalkers from possessing firearms. Quite honestly, that is all you should need to know about him to know he’s an abhorrent person willing to put women in danger for the sake of his worship of “the second amendment.” He also voted against state-level Net Neutrality policies, a position that willfully invites long lasting damage to his constituents - especially those in the rural areas of his district!

Deschutes County Commissioner Position 1: Amy Lowes

It’s time for three-time commissioner, Tony DeBone to step down. He’s too comfortable in his incumbency and it is turning into sloppiness that doesn’t serve our county well.

Deschutes County Commissioner Position 3: James Cook

James Cook has been working on Redmond planning and budget committees for a number of years, now, which gives him a much better level of experience for being a county commissioner.

His opponent, Patti Adair is weirdly obsessed with regulating marijuana. She is an avid Trump supporter and organizer - that’s really her only political experience, and enough against her in my book to give her a pass.


These candidates are all running unopposed and were all appointed by Kate Brown. It’s exciting to see more POC and women in our courts!

Nonpartisan county

I think these are all uncontested, so just fill in the bubble. :)

City of Bend City Council, Position 5: Gena Goodman-Campbell

Gena made a bid for state rep in 2016, and did pretty well for someone who had never ventured into politics/governmental work before. The critical feedback was, “Go back home and work your way up to state level.” And here she is, campaigning for City Council! I’m really proud of her for persevering and will be happy to see her representing us on the Council.

City of Bend City Council, Position 6: Barb Campbell

I love Barb’s passion and concern for our city and country and I want to keep her on the Council. Ron Boozell still desperately wants to be on the City Council and definitely looks like he’s figured out that he needs to tone down his stoner-ness to be taken seriously. Unfortunately, he’s in jail again for failed child support payments, so he’s got a few things to solve before he can really make it. Sarah McCormick is a legacy Republican who says she’s nonpartisan, and she throws shade at Barb for being an “activist” who “cares too much about national politics.” She’s also pro-tourism to the point of theoretically harming our town, and just sent out an appallingly discriminatory mailer talking about the dangers of "the increasingly aggressive homeless population." Sarah doesn't care about our town, just a small slice of it that fits in her comfortable little bubble.

City of Bend Mayor, Position 7: Sally Russell

Sally has been working hard on the City Council for years, and has been Mayor Pro Tem this year. She is dedicated to Bend’s success and I trust her to make good decisions for our citizens and our city.

Her main opponent is Bill Moseley, who I’m now ashamed to admit I voted for back in 2016. His ideas aren’t all bad, but he has turned out to be a major disappointment. He’s a political weasel and gaslighter - all evidenced on his public facebook page. He uses Trump-like tactics to create agitation and division, but in a much more slick and businessmanlike way that makes him just sound superior and educated. I think he has political aspirations past city government and that concerns me. His political career needs to be nipped in the bud ASAP.

Deschutes Soil & Water Conservation District

Zone 4 is the only contested position, and I'm voting for Andrew Anderson. He's a 5th generation farmer who co-owns Plantae Health, a farm-to-table, single source dispensary with locations in Madras, Prineville, and Bend. I admire the ethos of education embraced by Plantae - even for recreational users, their consultants really strive to find the right fit for each customer. Andrew is already heavily involved in local conservation and farm/ag groups; he is going to be a thoughtful, forward-thinking voice in this role. Update October 9, 2020: While I was looking for info for another voting guide, I ran across this article about Andrew Anderson's trial for strangulation, involuntary servitude and kidnapping of a local woman. What a creep! I regret voting for him!

Measure 102: YES

It’s rare that I would support a change to the state constitution but this measure is clearly written and includes restrictions that keep our citizenry safe.

Measure 102 would remove the constitutional restriction that affordable housing projects funded by municipal bonds must be government owned.

“A "Yes" vote would support amending the state constitution to allow counties, cities and towns to—with voter approval and certain restrictions [to me, this part is KEY]—use bond revenue to fund the construction of affordable housing, without necessarily retaining complete ownership of the constructed housing. The idea is, it could foster more public-private partnerships and thus get more units built in a shorter amount of time.” (Source.)

Measure 103: NO

I am opposed to amending the state constitution for this issue. There are other ways to meet the same ends without locking into our guiding document this ambiguously written measure.

This measure is confusing. It’s written and marketed like it’s a consumer tax protection - Oregonians don’t want to pay taxes on groceries, and it feels like voting for this measure will keep that from ever happening. The problem with Measure 103 is that it doesn’t define who won’t be taxed, which means it completely blocks us from the possibility ever receiving corporate taxes from stores like WalMart, Costco, and Fred Meyer. It also blocks the taxation of companies that mass produce the food containers that pollute our oceans, or those who make billions on transporting food over the Cascades to Central Oregon.

Remember how we have that huge debt to PERS, and how corporate taxation is the most viable solution? If Measure 103 passes, we will massively reduced the number of corporations from which we can glean much needed funding. The financial responsibility would be passed onto the shoulders of individuals yet again.

Most telling is that the biggest investors in getting Measure 103 to pass is the grocery corporations themselves. They are VERY motivated to protect their money from our citizen’s needs and interests!

Measure 104: NO

Again, another sloppy, badly defined, and unnecessary measure. I’m not happy with the people throwing these things into the ballot! Too many voters are not educating themselves on the implications and will get duped by them.

“Right now, it takes a simple majority of lawmakers to reform or repeal a tax break. It takes 31 out of a total of 60 house members and 16 out of a total of 30 senators to make it happen….Measure 104, however, would raise the bar higher. The measure would change Oregon's Constitution to require a supermajority -- three-fifths -- of lawmakers in each chamber to reform or repeal a tax break. As few as 13 senators beholden to special interests could derail an effort to end a wasteful tax break.” (Source.)

Measure 104 would cause major gridlock in our government and leave us extremely vulnerable to special interests and lobbyists.

Measure 105: NO NO NO NO NO

Measure 105 would create state-funded racial discrimination. It is being sponsored by Repeal Oregon Sanctuary Law, which is funded by Oregonians for Immigration Reform and the Federation for American Reform. Both groups are classified as hate or extremist groups by the SPLC.

That’s really all you need to know, right? Don’t side with the white supremacists, m’kay?

Measure 106: NO!

Another special interest-proposed change to the constitution, which I am opposed to on principle. Regardless of where you stand on accessibility of abortion, know that the precedent that this measure would set, should it pass, is the ability to cherry pick what medical procedures can or can’t be covered.

Also, remember that reducing accessibility and affordability of abortions does NOT reduce the number of overall abortions. It just reduces access to SAFE abortions. Which increases the load on our healthcare system and taxes in other areas, because unsafe abortions are a leading cause of maternal death.

I’m talking to you, Pro-Lifers! If you want to see a reduction in the number of abortions in this country, you need to vote for everything and everyone who supports legal, accessible abortions, widely and cheaply available contraception, and holistic, science-backed sex education. Please educate yourselves on how to meet your end goals, here. By reducing access and legality of abortions, you’re hurting a lot of people with what really amounts to virtue signaling.