At candidate forum

by: HOLLY M. GILL - Rep. John Huffman, left, and Britt Storkson are seeking the office of representative for District 59.The Republican candidates for representative for Oregon's District 59 both hail from The Dalles, but had different backgrounds and messages at the April 28 candidate forum at the Jefferson County Senior Center.

Rep. John Huffman, who has served as the District 59 representative since 2007, said he is proud of his work obtaining $4 million in state funding for a new county courthouse, and funding for the Juniper Junction Relief Nursery, as well as work for individual constituents.

He hopes to be re-elected to continue serving the district and to try to obtain the remaining $1.5 million the county had requested for the courthouse.

Prior to his election, he had operated the Q-104 radio station in The Dalles from 1985 to 2007.

Candidate Britt Storkson, who for the past 20 years has owned P2Flow LLC, which makes computer pressure controls for water pumps and floatless tank fills, said he had run for the board of "a state-sanctioned monopoly" — a power company, and lost for 10 consecutive years before he realized that the company had no obligation to honor the results of the election.

"Legally, they can take all the votes and throw them into the shredder," said Storkson, who appealed to Huffman for help.

Storkson said that Huffman refused to help, and had compiled a 4-inch-thick dossier on him "which is not illegal, but is unethical."

Huffman countered Storkson's claim, noting, "I do not have a 4-inch dossier; I don't have a 1-inch dossier. I can't imagine why I'd want to keep information on Britt."

Regarding Cover Oregon, Oregon's failed online insurance marketplace, Huffman said that he believes Oracle, the company which set it up, should be more accountable. "What we voted on for Cover Oregon was not what we ended up getting," he said.

Storkson said that current representatives are in control, "yet when they mess up, they claim they're not responsible. They're not being honest with us."

Asked about the tone and cooperation in the recent legislative session, Storkson commented, "If it's bad legislation, I would hope the legislators would not be working together."

However, he would like both parties to work together on topics such as public safety and roads. "We should have an agenda; it should be open to all people," he added.

Huffman said he represents over 63,000 people. "If someone calls me, I don't ask whether they're a Republican or a Democrat," he said. "I promised years ago that I would build relationships. I know that's how you get things done."

On the topic of taxes, Storkson would like to see tax equity. "Nobody should pay a different rate based on any factor ... People rearrange the order of their lives to avoid taxes ... If you get tax equity, you're going to get tax stability."

Huffman said he would like to consider a sales tax, which would bring in money from tourists passing through the state.

During their wrap-ups, Huffman asked for the public's support in the May primary. "There's always a lot of work to be done — unfinished business," he said.

Storkson emphasized the importance of free and fair elections, personal privacy, and being accessible to constituents. As he has gone door to door campaigning, he said, "I find no one that wants status quo."

District 59 includes about 8,000 square miles and extends from the rural Bend area up to The Dalles, but doesn't include the eastern part of The Dalles. The district jogs northeast to encompass Fossil, Spray and Mitchell, yet skips over Shaniko and Antelope.

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