PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Five candidates are in the running to become Oregon’s next Secretary of State.
Republican Bev Clarno currently holds the position but is not seeking reelection. She was appointed by Gov. Kate Brown after the death of Secretary of State Dennis Richardson in February of 2019.
The 2020 race will feature Republicans David Stauffer and Kim Thatcher as well as Democrats Mark Hass, Jamie McLeod-Skinner and Shemia Fagan.
KOIN 6 News’ Dan Tilkin spoke with each of the candidates and what they plan to do if elected:
Kim Thatcher (Republican)
Thatcher has been a member of the Oregon State Senate since 2015, representing District 13. She has been the Vice chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee since 2017 and also sits on the Joint Audits Committee. Prior to the senate, Thatcher was a State Representative from 2005-2014.
Thatcher was one of several Republicans who participated in a partisan walkout in protest of the cap-and-trade bill. She said she anticipates backlash for her actions from some voters, but believes she’s standing up for what’s right.
“I’m sure it will be brought up, that’s absolutely true,” she said. “And, it’s also true our governor had done something similar.”
David Stauffer (Republican)
Stauffer, who has run as both a Democrat and a Republican to be Oregon’s governor, is an environmental engineer and licensed attorney.
Also an aspiring inventor, Stauffer has two U.S. patents and a third pending — all of which aim to fix air pollution and water.
Mark Hass (Democrat)
Hass has been representing District 14 in the Oregon State Senate since replacing former Senator Ryan Deckert in 2007. Prior to his tenure in the state senate, he served in the Oregon House of Representatives from 2001 to 2007.
He stressed the importance of establishing an office overseeing cybersecurity for the upcoming elections.
“That has to be job number one,” he said. “To protect our elections process. We have a great example of just what happened with these rickety old computers in the employment division, when they were tested in an emergency it didn’t work, it broke down.”
Jamie McLeod-Skinner (Democrat)
McLeod-Skinner lost to Greg Walden in the 2018 election for Oregon’s 2nd Congressional District in the U.S. House. A member the Democratic Party, McLeod-Skinner said the status quo in Salem does not work for working Oregonians.
“There’s a toxicity that’s built up in the legislature,” she said. “The legislature has not been able to get the job done. There has been walkouts in the last two sessions. Oregonians want a positive focus.”
Shemia Fagan (Democrat)
Fagan, who currently represents Oregon’s 24th District in the state senate, previously served in the Oregon House of Representatives from 2013 to 2017. She leads all candidates with the most donations but has been an advocate for contribution limits.
“What we need to do is get giant corporations and wealthy individuals–who can buy a large microphone and drown out all those other voices–[and] limit those donations,” she said.