More than 40 candidates have filed to run for public office in Oregon – more than twice the number from 2016. And for the first time in 40 years, the state’s congressional delegation grew by one seat, for a total of six. These changes, and others resulting from the recent 10-year redistricting plan the legislature put into effect this year, are creating a confusing election landscape for many Oregon voters.
The most recent census numbers triggered the addition of the new district – Oregon’s 6th – which goes into effect with this election cycle. The resulting changes to the neighboring districts, particularly the 5th District, means Keizer residents will be voting for brand new legislative representatives.
To complicate matters even further – at least for southern Willamette valley voters – 18-term US Representative Peter DeFazio is retiring. This means Oregonians will be sending at least two brand new representatives to Washington this year.
The heavily-contested redistricting legislation passed by the state legislature last year moved boundaries for many voters throughout the state, particularly in the Willamette Valley. The 5th District, won by Democrat Kurt Schrader in 2016, formerly included Salem and Keizer but now has Bend and some of the Cascades instead.
There are currently nine Democrats running for the 6th District: Ricky Barajas, Carrick Flynn, Greg Goodwin, Kathleen Harder, Teresa Alonso Leon, Stephen Cody Reynolds, Andrea Salinas, Loretta Smith and Matt West. Running for the same seat, the Republican lineup includes Jim Bunn, Mike Erickson, Ron Noble, Angela Plowhead, David Russ, Amy Ryan Courser and Nate Sandvig. Both parties are conducting primary voting on May 17 – the two winners will go on to compete for the new seat in the Nov. 8 election.
Democrat Candidates – US House District 6
Carrick Flynn was awarded a scholarship to attend the University of Oregon, where he studied economics and then to Yale Law School. Since then, he’s been working in economic development and job creation, co-founded the Centre for the Governance of Artificial Intelligence at Oxford University and joined Georgetown University on the research faculty.
Ricky Barajas hails from Los Angeles and works in the healthcare industry here in Oregon. He attended both University of Oregon and Portland State University, where he earned a degree in 2007. This is his second bid for a US House seat having lost the May 15, 2018 primary.
Matt West is a scientist living in Tigard. He received a Ph.D. from University of Texas at Austin in electrochemistry, materials processing and materials development. He currently works for Intel as a semiconductor engineer.
Kathleen Harder is a medical doctor who has been practicing in Salem for the past 30 years. She has been treating COVID patients throughout the pandemic. She is the former chair of the Oregon Medical Board and a board member at Planned Parenthood Advocates for Oregon.
Teresa Alonso Leon obtained a social science degree from Western Oregon University and a masters degree in public administration from Portland State University. Leon was elected to the Oregon House of Representative’s District 22 in 2016 and served on the Woodburn City Council from 2013-2017.
Steven Cody Reynolds is a US Army veteran who served as an infantryman from 1997 to 1999, followed by completion of a degree in engineering psychology from the United States Military Academy at West Point. He served as an Air Defense Officer until 2008, when he left the military to start a financial services company.
Andrea Salinas has a degree in psychology from the University of California at Berkeley. She has worked as a lobbyist, a legislative aide in the US House and Senate and as a private political consultant. She won the Oregon House of Representative’s seat for District 38 in 2016.
Loretta Smith has a communications degree she earned from Oregon State University in 1987, and has worked as a staffer for Rep. Ron Wyden (D) from 1996 to 2010, and again in 2019. She also founded a government relations firm in 2019 and served on the Multnomah County Commission from 2012 to 2018.
Republican Candidates – US House District 6
Jim Bunn received a bachelor of arts degree from Northwestern Nazarene College in 1979. He worked in agribusiness until 1987 when he was elected to serve in the Oregon Senate’s 15th District – an office he held until 1994, when he won Oregon’s 5th District seat in the US House of Representatives. He served there until 1997 and now works as a correctional officer.
Mike Erickson earned a business degree from Portland State University, where he also played as the Viking’s placekicker and punter. He is the founder and CEO of Tigard transportation company, AFMS and has been involved in the transportation industry for his entire career.
Ronald Noble has lived in the Willamette Valley since 1974. He served as a police officer for 28 years, most recently as the Chief of Police for the City of McMinnville. He is currently serving in the Oregon House as the representative for District 24.
Angela Plowhead has multiple academic degrees including a Psy.D. in clinical psychology from George Fox University, a bachelor of science in occupational education from Wayland Baptist University, and an associates degree in applied science from the Community College of the Air Force, where she served as a signals intelligence analyst. She works as a clinical psychologist.
David Russ was born in California, and earned a bachelors degree from Eastern Washington University in 1986. He has since worked as an accountant, a consultant, a real estate broker, and as the current mayor of Dundee, Ore.
Amy Ryan Courser is the president of A.R.C. Consulting Solutions, a sports official for 25 years, and served on the Keizer City Council from 2015-2018. She is also the founder and creator of Keizer Cares – a local program benefitting women, the homeless and local police – and the Salem and Keizer Chamber Business Women’s Networking group.
Nate Sandvig is a West Point graduate and former infantry officer who served in the 101st Airborne Division in Bosnia and the 2nd Infantry Division in Iraq. He currently lives in Tillamook County and works as an executive in the energy industry.