The New Era - All about Sweet Home since 1929

By Staff
Of The New Era 

SH councilman Goodwin files to run for state Legislature


March 15, 2016

Jeff Goodwin

Sweet Home City Councilman Jeff Goodwin has filed to run for the state House of Representatives in District 17 in an effort to offer voters a choice and create conversations that will not occur in an unopposed race.

Goodwin, 35, will hold his official campaign kickoff at 6 p.m. on March 29 at The Point Restaurant, 6305 Main St. The event is open to the public and everyone is invited to attend, meet him and talk about the issues each finds most important.

He will seek the office as a member of the Independent Party, facing incumbent Republican Sherrie Sprenger, who filed last fall for a new term. The Democratic Party has no candidate. Sprenger and Goodwin will be unopposed in the primary election in May.

Sprenger was appointed to the seat in 2008 after Fred Girod was appointed to the senate. She won elections every two years afterward.

“I am excited to run for this position,” Goodwin said. “It represents both the area where I live and many of the people I represent in my law practice, but also, further north, some of my fondest memories from childhood are attending Scout camp at Camp Morrison, playing along the banks of the Little North Fork and hiking the Opal Creek trail, boating and fishing on Detroit Lake – and the ice cream in town that always came with it – and climbing to Stahlman Point.

“In short, District 17, with the vast natural resources and the diversity of individuals it represents, has been a major part of my life from my earliest years and is where I call home.”

Goodwin said the Independent Party approached him last year. He was reluctant at first.

“I explored it for six months last fall,” Goodwin said. “Ultimately, I decided to run because no one else is going to.

“Sherrie Sprenger is doing a good job at what she does. I would do a great job.”

The point isn’t about her, but rather about democracy.

“You don’t have a democracy if you don’t have a choice,” Goodwin said. “Part of the decision to run was watching presidential debates.”

Each of the candidates are part of the discussion, Goodwin said. Their values, their goals are discussed.

“If no one runs, there won’t be a discussion,” he said. There won’t be campaigns and all that goes with them, meeting with voters and news stories.

If the seat is contested, he said, then there can be a discussion about the issues that are important to voters.

“That process has value beyond deciding a loser and winner,” Goodwin said. He wants to listen to voters and talk about what’s important to them.

He invites voters to tell him what they want at his kickoff, he said, and he will be their voice in Salem.

Goodwin said he’s always believed in public service and grew up hearing his father tell him that if he doesn’t step up, he has no grounds to complain. Goodwin said he is complaining, whether it’s the minimum wage bill passed this session or of the bill to require background checks on private gun sales last session.

Goodwin has previously run for state office. As a law student at Willamette University, he ran for senate as a Democrat.

“I’ve always been an independent,” Goodwin said. “I learned a ton from that experience. I was very frustrated with the Democratic Party.”

The Democrats thought he was too Republican, he said, and he had been registered as a Republican before that.

“I’m a right-leaning independent,” he said, but which party anyone fits “depends on who you ask.”

Were he to win as a member of the Independent Party, he likely would be in the minority. The Republican minority has learned what that means, with little direct ability to impact policy. This session, Republicans required bills to be read in their entirety before votes, and they coordinated a walkout to deny a quorum to the senate, something a Democrat minority did in 2001 during redistricting.

Goodwin would view his position a bit differently.

“As the person in between, you can be the one to bring them to the table,” he said. He would like to see a state capitol where people can disagree and work together to solve problems rather than what it is now, where Democrats can do what they want and Republicans feel disenfranchised.

“Everybody wants to be listened to,” Goodwin said.

“I just feel like we could do better if we would talk to each other. It’s just too divisive.”

He also believes that many Democrats would be willing to support him in office, he said. He brings a number of skills to the table, including problem solving, negotiating and effective advocacy, and he can be effective at finding solutions.

“My priorities, it’s not really individual issues,” Goodwin said. “I’m concerned about basic freedom.”

Democrats and Republicans address different issues, restricting freedom in different ways, he said. “Year after year, we have less liberty.”

Liberty and justice are intertwined, and the state needs to follow the law and the Constitution, he said. Justice preserves liberty, but a justice system doesn’t matter if there isn’t liberty.

“You have to give people the freedom to make the decisions for themselves,” Goodwin said, while prohibiting things like murder and rape.

When the governor refuses to execute convicted murderers, the governor is not doing his or her job; and it isn’t justice, he said. That’s something he considers impeachable.

If they don’t like it, a process exists to change the rules, he said. “You don’t have a right as a governor to not enforce the law. As an executive, your job is to carry out the law.”

As a city councilor, his priority has been making sure law enforcement has adequate resources to help promote justice, he said. People have told him how they’ve been robbed, and police just take a report.

“I’m going to be an advocate for District 17,” Goodwin said. “Obviously, it’s my home. This is where I live. This is where I work. This was a choice. I chose to live in a small town where I have my neighbor’s back, and my neighbor has my back.”

That means someone proposes turning vast portions of Willamette National Forest into a national monument, he’s on a plane to Washington, D.C., he said.

“I am honored to be on the Sweet Home City Council,” Goodwin said. If he is not elected, he will continue to serve. If he is elected, “it would be an opportunity to do even more good for the people. It makes a difference what they do in Salem. That’s why I’m willing to do it. I’m willing to offer myself as an alternative.”

Goodwin grew up in east Salem and attended Chemeketa Community College before moving to Corvallis to attend Oregon State University, where he graduated in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in history with honors. He met his wife Stephanie there and married her. They have five children. He earned a doctorate degree in law and a master’s of business administration for business, government and not-for-profit management with honors from Willamette University in Salem.

Goodwin will host a “Dinner with the Candidate” in Stayton at 6 p.m. on March 31 at Ugo’s Pizza, 190 E. Ida St. The public is invited.

To reach Goodwin email or mail him at PO Box 447, Sweet Home, OR 97386. On Facebook, find him at Friends of Jeffrey D. Goodwin; Jeffrey D. Goodwin on LinkedIn; and @BeaverFan2007 on Twitter. He is planning a website,


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