Secretary of State candidate McLeod Skinner focuses on campaign finance reform

One of the most competitive races in Oregon’s May 19 primary is the Democratic race for secretary of state. Three candidates are vying for the chance to take on the winner of the Republican primary in this November’s general election. Democrat Jamie McLeod Skinner joins Straight Talk with Laural Porter this week to discuss her goals if she’s elected. Other democratic candidates State Sen. Shemia Fagan and state Sen. Mark Hass appeared on Straight Talk last week.

From kgw news this is straight top with laurel porter hello and welcome to straight talk i’m laurel porter you should have your oregon ballot now for the may 19th primary there are a lot of important local regional legislative and statewide races that impact our lives the most competitive contests may be the democratic primary for secretary of state an office that’s

Next in succession to the governor last week on straight talk we heard from state senators mark hasse and shamea fagan this week the third democratic candidate in the race former congressional candidate jamie mcleod skinner joins us and later in the show we shift gears to talk about an issue the pandemic has made even more critical preventing child abuse our guests

Will tell us how we can all be part of a solution first jamie mcleod skinner mcleod skinner grew up in ashland and currently lives in terrebonne in central oregon in 2018 she ran against republican congressman greg walden in the second congressional district she lost by 17 points but it was walden’s closest race since being elected to congress in 1998 mcleod skinner

Is an attorney and got her law degree from the university of oregon she spent years as an environmental and city planner in california and served eight years in elected office on the santa clara city council she’s currently serving on the jefferson county education board and governor brown appointed her to serve on the statewide oregon watershed enhancement board

Welcome to my first guest democratic candidate for secretary of state jamie mcleod skinner welcome to straight talk nice to have you here thanks it’s so good to be back let’s talk about your experience first your challengers in this race point to their legislative experience shamea fagan had served two terms in the house she’s now in the state senate and mark hasse

Has served for nearly 20 years in the legislature and has passed significant bills tell us about your experience and why you think you’re the best candidate for secretary of state sure well i’ve spent my entire career making democ see work working an elected public office public service and the public sector from rebuilding schools and hospitals and former war

Zones to improving government accountability is as a city manager and in organizational effectiveness to building up economic resilience to protecting our environment i’ve got experience in actually getting stuff done that positively impacts people’s life i’m i’m the only one in this race or between the three of us that is executive management experience so i’ve

Got nine years of elected policy setting experience and that’s important but this is essentially an executive management role you’re overseeing multiple important divisions 220 staff so both the secretary of state and the governor need to understand how government actually functions and not just in setting policy you my education prepares me with degrees in oh sorry

I was just i was just gonna say one other distinction is a lot of folks talk about the legislative experience but actually tom mccall who was a very popular former governor when he became secretary of state he had not served in legislature and tom mccall worked here at kgw by the way you you mentioned governor and the secretary of state is a critical office for

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A number of reasons but one of them especially important is that you would be next in line to the governor and we saw that happen when governor john kitzhaber resigned and then then secretary of state kate brown became governor since you haven’t had legislative experience you haven’t had the opportunity yet to build relationships with lawmakers do you feel you’re

Prepared to step in as governor if need be well absolutely and again i have nine years of elected office experience in urban and rural areas the city council i served on is large larger than a state senate district and so we develop policy but also help to implement it because while i’m committed to serving as secretary of state the qualification for both secretary

State and governor is that executive management experience i have relationships statewide which is also an exception i’ve actually built bridges and built relationships statewide brought folks together across that urban-rural divide but legislate the legislature right now is so divisive we’re being embarrassed on a national level with articles about the continued

Walkouts and that’s really there’s some blame on both sides it’s one thing to walk out it’s another thing to not work with your colleagues to move forward on legislation so i don’t bring that bitter pill to the role i have a track record bringing folks together and that’s what oregonians want right now in the voters pamphlet you include in your experience as city

Manager for the small town of phoenix oregon but in 2017 you were fired from that position after only four months on the job by a vote of three to two of a city council and the reasons for that are in dispute what do you want voters to know about what happened well i have a long track record the most outstanding cities and having that that experience specifically

In the case of phoenix i was hired under one administration and let go under a newly elected ministration that’s pretty common for chief executives and a fun fact when i was holding a town hall in medford about six months ago that same mayor showed up who had kind of led led me to get fired he showed up we had a great conversation about preventing voter fraud so

When governor brown appointed me to serve on the oregon watershed enhancement forward and i was undergoing senate confirmation this question came up former colleagues from the city of phoenix send in letters and support of my nomination i was overwhelmingly confirmed by the senate and i want to thank marcus and shamea fagan for voting me to serve on the board i

Greatly enjoy my role on or web serving all oregonians and appreciate my own colleagues recently appointed me to chair the water committee the secretary of state is also the chief elections officer and you and your opponents agree and a lot of things have some of the same values you all support things like same-day voter registration what makes you different what

Different ideas to bring to this office when it comes to elections a really big one is about campaign finance and that’s something where i really distinguish my nine years of elected office experience i’ve never taken one dime of corporate money and that’s not that’s also i’ve always honored even when it’s been opt in campaign finance contribution limits and if

You look at the race with the three of us it just as an example while we’ve raised approximately the same amount if you look at the average amount raised per candidate mine’s about a hundred bucks one of my colleagues is about seven hundred bucks and one of my colleagues is over $5,000 per contribution so oregonians really care about campaign finance care about

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Following the money that’s also been a challenge so making sure that were star that how we now look up where money is coming from making that more accessible but also really pushing for actual campaign finance reform and campaign contribution limits because right now we’re seeing power brokers be able to come in and essentially buy elections elections should be

Decided by oregon voters not by big-money interests and i shouldn’t say that all three of you do support campaign finance reform another thing we hear a lot about our cyberthreat well we do we do but but if you look at if you look at what we’re actually doing it’s not actually practice is the problem talking about cybersecurity that’s another important role for

The the secretary of state to protect the reliability of the elections and what do you bring to what different ideas do you have when it comes to cybersecurity and protecting oregon’s elections well this is where both the experience in silicon valley is really key to understanding that i’ve talked about for months and i was the first one to propose establishing an

Election security officer to think like a hacker the other thing i have is relationships around the state our elections ultimately come down to our county clerk’s and i’ve had during this process meeting with county clerk’s in urban and rural areas i heard county clerk’s say they’ve never had a secretary of state candidate come in and talk to them about their actual

Ideas and asked what help they need it that’s really about the the key thing to getting it done is working in partnership with our county clerk’s to make sure that we’re helping them to do their job and make sure that our elections are safe and secure it says also outreach to communities and making sure people have information and are pushing back on misinformation

Campaigns but again it comes back election security integrity also comes back to campaign finance and making sure elections can’t be bought let’s talk about redistricting this is a sense this year we’re going through census 2020 and that means after the census oregon is going to have to do something called redistricting where we redraw congressional and legislative

Boundaries based on the new population numbers right now that responsibility lies with the legislature and if they can’t get it done then it goes to secretary of state there is a movement in this state and nationwide to shift that responsibility to an independent citizens task force or a commission one of your opponents mark cast supports that kind of move while

Shamea fagan thinks that responsibility should stay with lawmakers where do you stand on redistricting well the first and foremost is people need to we need to be able to draw off little boundaries that represent our communities and it’s very likely as you mentioned that there’s the process in place that goes from legislature then to the secretary of state for over

The last six times it’s actually gone to legislate the secretary of state and where legislature keeps walking out and so it very likely will fall to the secretary to say it again i believe the process we have now is better than what has been proposed ultimately we need a process we can trust but i’m concerned about us losing the voices of communities of interest

That’s part of our legislative requirement to make sure communities and interests are included so that there’s not gerrymandering i’ve got a process that i’ve laid out where i would appoint an advisory committee so it’d be a public and open process that the public would be welcome to to participate i’d invite legislators and former secretaries of state including

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The most recent secretary of state who’s endorsed me in my campaign communities of interest it’s important to protect the diversity of oregon and those are communities of interest so making sure those voices are at the table what has been proposed in my in my judgment does not sufficiently include those communities of interest if we had one that did i would support

It but i don’t think what’s being proposed is there yet but we do need to make sure that this is it’s a very important process and we do need to make sure it’s protected it will be done in public and we’ll build public trust through this process you you talk a lot about your rural roots you’re speaking to us right now from terrebonne in central oregon and you talk

About bridging the urban-rural divide how will you bring your rural roots in to secretary of state’s office and what will you do to bridge that divide well it’s such a critical important problem right now across our country and even here in oregon my wife and i live in central oregon finished high school in southern oregon i’ve also worked in urban areas so it’s

Really almost a cultural difference between the two the fractured legislature we now have with the fighting that’s going on political fighting that is really trying to to stir up that urban-rural divide we can get beyond that by actually connecting on issues that we care about in 2018 i had so much success and actually had the biggest swing of votes nationwide in

Any congressional race because it was about showing up meeting with folks talking about issues that people care about that’s something i will i’m doing now even as a candidate in terms of our live stream and connecting oregonians across our state talking about the issues we need to talk about to make those systemic changes to make government more accountable to

All oregonians there’s incredible frustration right now and i hear it not just in rural areas but in urban areas also communities of color who are frustrated are not being listened to not being heard in the legislature and in in salem and that’s something i really want to change i want to give you 30 seconds to leave a final message with voters this pandemic is

Showing the importance of leadership of bringing people together i’ve been in public service my entire life my mom told me i was a kid to always leave a place better and i found it and that’s what i work to do i’d stand this works i’m inspired by folks because this has got to be about all of us and bringing people together we have to move together and bring folks

Together to create a healthier democracy jamie for oregon comms my website and i’d really appreciate folks support and your vote to be your next secretary of state jamie mcleod skinner thank you for joining us here on straight talk thank you when we come back we shift gears to focus on our children during this unprecedented time there are added stressors for

Families we look at what’s happening the help available and how we can be a part of a solution we’re back in two minutes you

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Secretary of State candidate McLeod Skinner focuses on campaign finance reform By KGW News