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Sans governor, Pierce lays out platform in non-debate


July 26, 2016

With Gov. Kate Brown declining to debate her Republican challenger in the November gubernatorial race, Salem oncologist Dr. Bud Pierce had the stage to himself Friday as he spoke to the annual convention of the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association at the Oregon Garden.

The ONPA convention has traditionally been the kick-off for the governor’s race following the primaries, but Brown passed on the invitation to participate.

Pierce spent almost no time talking about his opponent, focusing rather on some of the elements of his platform and answering questions from the audience.

He introduced himself by emphasizing his blue-collar background – his father was a janitor with a seventh-grade education, and his comfort and familiarity with working class issues, though he runs a “very prosperous” medical practice that has, nonetheless, treated many Medicare and low-income patients.

He also emphasized his background as a Marine – “You say what you mean and mean what you say, and do what you say you’re going to do.”

Though this is his first bid for political office, and his victory in the Republican primary surprised some political observers, Pierce told the ONPA crowd that he has over two decades of experience working with legislators in crafting legislation pertaining to the medical field, including working on the Liability Task Force.

“(Senate President) Peter Courtney is a personal friend of mine,” he said “I feel very comfortable with him.”

Pierce criticized the Democratic leadership in Salem, though, stating that he has “no sense that the current insider leadership has any stomach or ability to reform the agencies” which, he said, is necessary for Oregon.

He said the state bureaucracy must be held accountable and “really” reformed.

“I think people are looking for leaders interested in solving problems,” Pierce said. “We lack leadership. I think we can be guaranteed a continued failing in homelessness, mental illness, public education, college affordability, lack of new jobs, lack of infrastructure and manufacturing if we re-elect the current leadership.”

A centerpiece of his platform, Pierce said, is private-sector jobs.

“When I look at rural Oregon, I see a lack of vigor, a lack of natural resource use . When I look at that, I see a society that’s not achieving. I think the final answer to all of this is the dignity of work.”

He said the state needs 300,000 more jobs in the private sector.

He said he opposes Initiative Petition 28 which, If passed, would create a gross receipts tax on C corporations of 2.5 percent on sales above $25 million. He said the $600-per-person additional tax burden that analysts have calculated the measure would create for Oregonians is too high.

“Since I stand for lower cost of living and higher wages for jobs, I could never support that,” Pierce said.

“The dignity of work is our greatest challenge. That’s pushing the immigration argument and discussions, pushing how we deal with foreign countries and trade agreements and such.”

Pierce said he advocates strong and effective local leadership in schools, which he said is necessary for healthy K-12 education. He also said he doesn’t yet have answers on how to fund higher education, but it’s one of his priorities.

“Our way of funding higher education is an embarrassment,” he said.

He also said he sees benefits in the current health insurance arrangement, noting that people who were unable to previously get insurance now can and insurance policies are now portable, meaning people don’t lose insurance when they change jobs.


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