EUGENE, Ore. – Republican candidate for governor, Rep. Knute Buehler, said the fact that Oregon hasn’t had a Republican governor in over 30 years doesn’t scare him.
“Oregonians are hungry for change and I'm really running for a simple reason -- to fix the big problems in Oregon that have been avoided, ignored, and quite frankly made a lot worse by Gov. (Kate) Brown,” Buehler said during an interview with KEZI 9 News.
One issue he’s running on is homelessness. The Roseburg native, who represents Bend in the Legislature, says if elected he'll end unsheltered homelessness in five years. He's released a seven-point plan to get it done and says homelessness has gotten worse under Brown's leadership. He said if elected, on his first day in office he’ll appoint a chief homelessness officer to carry out his vision.
“Just last week, in fact, Oregon was named number one in the nation for the number of youths that are homeless,” said Buehler. “So I think Gov. Brown has clearly come up short with regards to dealing with this issue and I think it's going to take leadership from a governor to fix it.”
Campaign staff for Brown says Oregonians don't want campaign slogans, they want results. They say next session, Brown will move a $350 million package that will put Oregon on a path to ensure every child has a place to live, building 4,000 new homes. The governor’s plan also calls for investing in permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless individuals and rural affordable housing attached to good local jobs.
Earlier this year she secured $5 million to help local governments pay to shelter homeless families statewide.
Buehler also says as governor he'll take an aggressive approach to fighting wildfires. He's criticizing Brown for not calling supertankers earlier to fight the Substation Fire in Wasco County this summer. He also believes stronger management of our forests is needed including more responsible thinning projects.
We have to get on top of this and really have a better forest management plan in the future,” said Buehler. “It takes leadership from a governor to step up and be actively involved in making those key decisions.”
Campaign officials for Brown did not respond to questions about forest management but said the governor has made sure that firefighters have the resources they need.