Oregon Democratic candidate for governor John Sweeney answers OPB’s questions

By OPB staff (OPB)
April 14, 2022 9 a.m.

OPB asked all 34 candidates seeking the Republican or Democratic nomination for governor to answer some basic questions about the issues. Below are responses from John Sweeney, a Democrat. These answers have not been edited.

Oregon Democratic candidate for governor John Sweeney.

Oregon Democratic candidate for governor John Sweeney.

Courtesy of John Sweeney / John Sweeney


To start, please give us your name and basic biographical details, including your current position or job, any elected offices you have held and any key facts you would like voters to know about you.

John Sweeney, Cable TV Co-Host, Director, Multnomah ESD, Portland Parks Supervisor, Oregon Army National Guard Captain, Land Management Consultant. I have a interest in improving our education system (to have all of our students graduate from high school), cleaner air (by putting all state cars & trucks on cleaner furls) & stop the shootings(by using the state police &/or National Guard).

Why should you be Oregon’s next governor?

Organization is my strong suit. A good organization will cure a lot of things. I think that toll roads 7 bridges are a bad idea. Now, they are talking about the Portland Metro Area. But, if not stopped it will spread allover the state. If you make under $100,000 / year it will effect you. If you make under $50,000 ($25/ hour) it will really hurt you. I have been to the east and you have ID markers on your car or coin changers in your car. And, they can & will track you.

What do you think is the most pressing challenge facing Oregon today?


What is your proposed solution to that problem? Please be specific.

Instill in all of the students the goal of graduating from high school.

Because, those who do not graduate from high school will most likely end up with very low paying jobs. In Short they will become economic cripples.

I want them to have four nine week courses; in the 7th grade. Why the 7th grade? That is when they become teenagers. They are; money management, civics, life plan and law related education.

Do you believe human beings are playing a part in rising temperatures?

Very little.

Do you think Oregon should take additional steps to address climate change? If so, what are some specific efforts you’d undertake or push for as governor?

Use color in reducing energy demands.

Going to white or light colored roofs will reduce energy use. The state has a lot of roofs.

I know this works. Because we had a black roof and changed it to silver. And, it made a big difference in our energy bill.

Oregon has experienced a high number of severe wildfires in recent years. What role should state government play in wildfire response?

Reduce the fuel (tall grass & brush) a long the roads. Most of this can be done through more mowing.

And ,re-educating the public to not park their cars & trucks in tall grass or brush. Because their catalytic converters will cause many fires.

In 2015 in California a car crash caused a fire that burned 125,000 acres.

Parts of Oregon now routinely face drought conditions. What role should state government play in preventing and responding to droughts?

By removing as many juniper trees as possible. Because, juniper trees are the conifers. What the weeping willows are to deciduos trees. Water suckers. There has been some of this done in the past and has shown some good results.

Do you support the use of body cameras by police officers to record their interactions with the public? Please explain why or why not.


It has shown results in crime solving and has proved helpful in public contacts.

The presents of caneras can help in educating the public.

President Joe Biden signaled in his State of the Union address that he wants to increase funding for police. Do you agree or disagree?


In surveys, Oregonians on both the right and the left described political extremism as one of the biggest challenges facing the state. Do you agree with them? If yes, please describe the type of extremism that concerns you and what you would do as governor to address it.


There needs to be a change in the culture, a tempering if you will.

Extremism, does not work.

More training in the conducting of duties can make great headway.


In surveys, Oregonians consistently rate homelessness and high housing costs as a major problem facing the state. What role do you believe state government should play in addressing these interconnected problems?

The homeless/houseless people and camps are a local problem.

The states role should be “what is your plan?” and how can we help you.

The cities & counties must do the bulk of the work.

Would you support requiring people experiencing homelessness to stay in shelters if adequate shelter space exists?


Oregon’s high school graduation rate continues to lag behind other states. What are specific actions you would take as governor to improve student performance?

Check back on my education statements.

Oregon, like much of the rest of the nation, has a child care crisis. What role should the governor play in this situation, and what are specific steps you would take as governor?

Again, this is local and the state should be in the supporting role.

Because the cities & counties know problems the best.

Do public employee unions have too much influence in Oregon? If you answer yes, please tell us which unions in particular concern you.


As governor, would you support the creation of campaign finance limits in Oregon? If no, please explain why not. If yes, please can us specifics on what limits you would endorse.

I would set up a committee to find a solution to fix this problem.

Do you believe Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election?


Would you support creation of a sales tax in Oregon?


Do you support the use of tolls to help pay for infrastructure constructions in the Portland region, including a replacement for the Interstate 5 bridge?


If the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, would you as governor push for new abortion restrictions in Oregon? If yes, please specify what type of restriction you would propose.


I think this is to be between the woman/doctor/God.

And, no one else.

How would you describe the relationship between rural and urban Oregon today?


What’s one thing you would do as governor to bring rural and urban Oregon together?

Find common ground where it can.

Create system where the goods & services go back & forth between the two groups.

What’s the best thing Kate Brown has done as Oregon governor?

Run the COVID Program.

What’s the worst thing Kate Brown has done as Oregon governor?

Became Governor.

Name another Oregon leader, either current or in the past, whose approach to public policy you admire and why.

Gov McKay.

He ran it like a smooth ship.

Most of my old friends speak highly of him.