Mannix wins closer than expected race

Republican Kevin Mannix won his race for state House District 21 against Democrat Ramiro Navarro.

 Returns as of Wednesday morning, Nov. 9, showed Mannix winning 51.7% (9,521 votes) against 45.6% (8,377 votes) for Navarro. Libertarian candidate Michael Morrow won 2.5% (467 votes).

“We saw the gap closing in the last days of the campaign,” said Mannix, who polled better in Keizer than other parts of the district.

Mannix will return to the state legislature after serving in both the House and the Senate from 1989 to 2001. His previous tenure of more than 10 years will give him more seniority than other newly elected state representatives in January. That seniority will help him get the prime floor seat he covets. “I always had a seat in the front row, on the aisle, close to the speaker.”

That location allows him to get the attention of the speaker, but is also important to be able to address his fellow representatives. “You can turn and speak to the whole house,” he added.

He has definite ideas of what he wants to do once in office again, especially regarding human resources.

“We Republicans need to let the public know we care about those issues,”  he said, citing that homelessness is about mental health and addictions. Fully funding facilities that help people can be a big help, especially the state hospital.

Recognizing a disconnect between elected officials and their constituents, Mannix said that neighborhood outreach needs to be stronger, as he expects to be visible and available to residents of his district.

While the state capitol building remains under renovation Mannix will conduct some of his duties from his campaign office. The ongoing construction work on the building has kept people from the capitol.

Security at the capitol has been an obstacle for visitors.

“This is the people’s house. Get the (construction) job done,” Mannix implored.

He is ready to get the job done, too. “It’s time to roll up our sleeves; be prepared for what we can do as a legislature,” Mannix said. He wants to encourage a mindset of cooperation, reform and improvement.

“I am going to go in, say ‘I’m here to help,” he said.

Ramiro (RJ) Navarro called Mannix the morning after the election to concede. He said it is a hard job to run for office.

“It’s hard on the family, it’s hard on the candidate,” Navarro said, but he was honored to run for state representative.

Navarro, a director on the Cherriots Board, will continue to work on issues that impact everybody: mental health and homelessness.

He hopes that people are encouraged from the election and get involved, perhaps even seeking elective office.

Asked what his next step would be after the election Navarro said, with a laugh, “I’m thinking of sleeping.”