McLane, Huddle highlight why they deserve your vote
Republican Mike McLane faces Democratic challenger John Huddle this November in the District 55 raceIn about a month, Crook County voters will determine who leads Oregon’s 55th House of Representatives district for the next two years.
They will choose between Republican incumbent Mike McLane and Democratic challenger John Huddle, each of whom bring a different approach to guiding Oregon into the future.
When it comes to the economy for example, Huddle feels that Oregon needs to focus on improving its efficiency in government. As an example, he said that perhaps one person could fill two different roles in state government to cut costs.
Huddle expressed frustration that many state agencies are led by boards, leaving the government unable to directly affect how they are staffed and operated.
“It makes it very difficult to put some controls in place other than to simply cut budget,” he said. “When we cut budgets, all they cut is the appropriation amounts. Then if they have the legal authority, they go and raise the fees again. So we get into this vicious cycle instead of going after the heart of the problem.”
McLane, on the other hand, puts more stock in private sector growth.
“Few could dispute that when it comes to public safety or educating our kids, Oregon needs to have the revenue to meet the mission,” he said. “The way to do it is by having more taxpayers, and the way you do that is growing the private sector.”
To add more jobs, McLane wants to remove some of the hurdles and fees that people face when trying to open a new business in Oregon.
“I’m going to continue to push back overreaching by Salem bureaucrats as I did in the Facebook bill,” he said, referring to legislation he sponsored that stopped the state from central assessment taxation of data center companies. “Oregon often has, through overregulation and over-taxation, not helped the private sector grow.”
Huddle agrees that Oregon needs to scale back its regulations and fees to help grow the state job base. However, he also feels the state needs to consolidate its small business resources to make the system more navigable.
“For many small businesses or people who want to start up, we have too many hoops in too many places,” he said. “Let’s bring them all together — kind of like an antiques road show. Let’s have all of our resources in one place.”
Huddle feels that the state needs to make improvements to workforce training as well.
“Our workforce development, at our community college level especially, is not forecasting and providing the types of training people need to be employable,” Huddle said.
In addition to differing economic strategies, the two candidates also bring distinct viewpoints on state health care to the table. Oregon has recently passed legislation (Senate Bill 1580) that allows for the creation of coordinated care organizations (CCO). The organizations establish primary care homes, which consolidate multiple specialists into one community, and strive for community health improvement by employing a variety of measurable health outcomes.
McLane voted for the bill and continues to support its premise.
“The coordinated care organizations that were implemented . . . were aimed at Medicaid patients,” he said. “What we did is we took an existing program and made it more efficient so that it would produce better outcomes for more people at less cost.”
Huddle worries that CCOs will fail to adequately serve rural communities.
“It worries me because these areas are not profitable,” he said of smaller communities like La Pine, Gilchrist, and Silver Lake. “So what you are going to see, I fear, is areas like that shoved off into no-mans-land. If they get health care, it’s going to be poor. My emphasis is on making sure that we have equitable health care.”
Huddle went on to say that he see is concerned about a continuing trend in health care toward big corporations acquiring community hospitals.
“That’s not the kind of trend that I think is healthy for us, especially in rural Oregon,” he said. “I’m very afraid we are going to see people with poor health care because of that.”
At this point, he sees no legislative fix to the problem, but feels the best plan is to try to get funding and support for health care programs that are effective.
If re-elected, McLane intends to build on the work he has thus far carried out during his first two years in office.
“When it comes to a more balanced use of natural resources,” he offered as an example, “I’m going to continue to push an agenda for Oregon that embraces water storage and water supply increases overall, so that we can have the necessary supplies to achieve the economic growth that we need.”
While Huddle has never served in state government, he feels he brings problem-solving experience to the table that would serve him well as a legislator.
“I have a track record of accomplishing things for people,” he said. “I’m the one who gets in there and fights for people.”
As evidence, Huddle highlighted his efforts regarding an herbicide spraying issue in North Klamath County as well as his work on a septic system issue in La Pine. He has also fought on behalf of veterans issues, and hopes to add a state veterans’ home in Central Oregon.
The 2012 general election will be held on Nov. 6. Crook County ballots will be mailed out on Oct. 19.