Although to some it may seem as if the House District 49 race has been only about trading jabs and bloated campaign chests, the real issues lie in the need for stable funding for education and health care.

Candidate Rob Brading, the Democratic challenger to Speaker of the House Karen Minnis, R-Wood Village, believes there are some serious issues facing Oregonians that need to be addressed at the state level.

'I am running because I think the Legislature has done a lousy job listening to the people of the state of Oregon, and consequently made bad decisions because of that,' Brading said.

He believes that local residents don't support all of the decisions their legislators make, because they don't understand why those choices were made.

'We need to make sure people are included in the process … and know where their money goes,' Brading said.

For Minnis, part of the solution is having a rainy-day fund.

'In Salem there is intense pressure to spend every dime,' she said.

However, when the economy is doing poorly, this can mean exceedingly painful recessions at the state level, she said.

'Whatever we do, it must be sustainable,' Minnis said.

Minnis and Brading are both against a sales tax, but are advocates for school funding.

Education and health care spending are some of the biggest issues in this race.

Minnis, who first got into politics when her husband, John, served in the Oregon legislature, said she was inspired to run for re-election because she wanted to make a difference in the lives of Oregonians.

'It was being able to touch lives in a positive way,' Minnis said. 'I wanted to continue to do that.'

She would like to make establishing living-wage jobs a priority, along with continuing to work with other local governments.

'I think we've had a successful record in partnering with our local leaders,' Minnis said, citing projects such as the transfer of county roads to Gresham and the cooperation of area law enforcement agencies on a multi-jurisdictional gang enforcement team.

Between them, the candidates have spent $750,000, a record for a House seat.

They have also traded attacks, which have shown up in residents' mailboxes with regularity.

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