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 Michael Trimble, a Democrat. These answers have not been edited.

Democratic candidate for governor Michael Trimble.

Democratic candidate for governor Michael Trimble.

Courtesy of Michael Trimble

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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.

Michael Trimble

Customer Service Representative at Care Oregon

I am a grassroots candidate unlike Kotek and Read, who are part of the elite Democratic establishment backed by special interests/big dollar corporate lobbyists. Too many Oregonians live the paycheck-to-paycheck struggle, just one financial disaster away from homelessness.

As a gay immigrant who gained citizenship through adoption, I learned at a very young age to be a fighter for rights, being born without arms and surrendered to an orphanage at birth.

I will never ever be caught sitting on my hands, as I will be working hard for you. https://youtu.be/uKR46mbIw5w is my YouTube video if you want to see how I live my life without arms all while biking and working full time AND running for governor!

Why should you be Oregon’s next governor?

Oregon desperately needs a well-informed, hard-working, Pro-Choice, Pro-Union, Pro-Environment, Pro-Racial Justice, Pro-LGBTQ+ everyday citizen willing to use the governorship to enact progressive change. Unlike Kotek and Read who have millions and a well oiled political machine to staff their campaigns, I am all alone in running this grassroots campaign.

I am you, and I will fight for you everyday. It’s been both awakening and surreal running for governor with a media that only pays attention to the two front runners while ignoring the rest of us 14 in the field. Running for public office in Oregon, a supposedly blue progressive state has been a most unDemocratic process which heavily favors candidates with more money than they know what to do with tied to special interests/big dollar corporate lobbyists. No wonder nothing ever gets done as we every day citizens languish and struggle ad infinitum.

Living without arms is not easy, but it has taught me an invaluable lesson to never give up proving my detractors and the naysayers wrong. Oregon needs a fighter like me, someone who is not afraid to shake up the elite Democratic establishment that has left us hurting, homeless, underinsured, under-payed, undervalued, and living paycheck to paycheck with no hopes in sight of being able to save for our retirement or even for a rainy fund day.

Kroger is a case in point. At the time I lived in Gresham, but I commuted on my bike to their corporate office in Southeast Portland by a combination of my adaptive bike and the TriMet max. Right out of training from the get-go I was an ace customer service rep smashing all expectations of a new rep on the floor. Sadly though my stellar performance did not insure my employment with Kroger as I was wrongfully terminated because they wanted me to carry my bike up a flight of stairs into a smoking section as opposed to letting me walk my bike through the front door. I fought back and sue them ultimately coming to an agreed settlement. https://youtu.be/Xrch3_ZT0i0 and https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/02/16/an-armless-man-couldnt-carry-his-bike-up-the-stairs-he-says-it-cost-him-his-job/ is that story covered by KATU News and the Washington Post. My story was syndicated nationwide. People could not believe that Kroger would terminate a physically challenged individual who chose to work instead of living off of welfare.

I will take that same wit and grit to Salem and make state government work for you.

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

HOUSING HOUSING HOUSING along with skyrocketing costs of living.

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

I will lower rents of middle-to-low-income by at least $100 at multi-unit apartment properties in my first 100 days while I work with the legislature to ultimately cap rents of middle-to-low-income to 30% of their income in my first term. I will ban all rent related nonrefundable fees including application and pet fees, as well as criminalize vacancies longer than 45 days. If a vacancy can’t be filled after 45 days, the government will give that unit to a tenant on the waiting list. There is no reason for vacancies with so many people looking for housing. Where I live, there have been vacant units sitting unoccupied for months because the property management company refuses to rent at below market value. All that will end as your governor.

I will mandate Section 8 be accepted by all landlords/property managers and work to cut the obscenely egregious waiting lists/times to under 100 days. I will seize all vacant buildings/properties under eminent domain and give them to nonprofits/organizations/agencies ready to convert them into housing. I will overhaul zoning to discourage single unit only dwellings to expand multi unit/shared dwellings.

RENT/HOUSING IS A BASIC HUMAN RIGHT NOT A PRIVILEGE OR A LUXURY

To combat skyrocketing costs of living, I will expand Oregon Health Plan to all Oregonians regardless of income. Healthcare after housing is the next biggest expenditure that must come down. I will curtail healthcare costs along with prescription drug prices setting annual ceiling caps to prevent unnecessary bankruptcies guaranteeing a set amount spent on healthcare in any given year. I will subsidize medical tourism where/when appropriate.

I will raise minimum wage to $15 an hour in my first 100 days. I will follow that up with instituting a living wage of $25 an hour at all companies reporting billion dollar plus earnings quarterly along with profit sharing with their employees. I will require all corporations pay a use of public infrastructure tax as well as their fair share. The days of billion dollar profit corporations not paying any taxes over.

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

YES

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?

ABSOLUTELY

I will defend our environment by improving accessibility of commuters on foot/bike or fare free 24/7 public-transit within our urban communities, and expanding safety distance to 6ft for bikes. I will transition more cars to be electric/hydrogen by 2030. I will drive a massive reduction in cost of utilities while transitioning to renewables and weatherizing existing infrastructure.

I will impose a carbon tax on all non-electric/hydrogen vehicle miles driven after 2030.

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

Much better forest management is needed as as well as common sense of locations where people live. It is pointless and counterproductive rebuilding homes in areas prone to wildfires only for them to burn down again the next year. Until we get a better handle of our forest management, human habitation needs to be limited in those dangerously prone areas.

I will require sustainable logging along with actual profit sharing on Native American lands as well as a mandatory transition to bamboo, cork, cotton, hemp, mulberry and even stone (yes, stone) for our paper/building materials product needs.

I envision a world where trees are never ever logged again.

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

Funding water conservation efforts, livestock disaster assistance, and supporting rural communities facing job losses from crop fallowing and drinking-water shortages are all steps state government can and must take. We need to address leaks as soon as possible; conduct water audits on larger buildings and businesses to identify leaks and potential water conservation opportunities; minimize the size of where lawns are watered; and, harvest rainwater for outdoor watering.

Water conservation measures will aid in the reduction of water use and safeguard water for essential needs, such as drinking water, fire protection services, habitat recovery and environmental needs, and sustained water supplies. Residents and businesses can and must minimize overall water use. Limiting outdoor watering to hand-held hoses or watering cans is an amazing way to conserve.

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

I most certainly do support body cameras to be worn at all times by police officers when out on patrol. While body cameras are not the end all be all solution to monitoring police, they are a great start to help keep the police accountable and responsible for their actions. In addition, I will require all police officers have at a minimum an associates degree in any mental field/degree, as more often than not encounters with the police are mental health related. I will lead the way in transitioning from sending police officers to domestic abuse/mental health related calls to sending licensed social workers to these types of incidents. I will require that police officers live in the communities that they are policing. For traffic violations citations/stops, police officers do not need to be armed to the hilt. I will require that the police force closely resemble the racial make up of the community it is policing.

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

Agree

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.

While political extremism does exist, I do not believe that it is one of the biggest challenges facing the state. Political ignorance and misinformation in my opinion pose a greater challenge and threat. A democracy cannot function if its citizens are making decisions based on misinformation, flat out wrong information, and just downright lies and propaganda that both parties manufacture. Due to freedom of speech, there is not much that can be done to reign in this bottomless data pit of alternative facts and realities. What I will do as governor is provide the facts for all Oregonians at state websites, social media platforms, and physical agencies and buildings.

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?

This is exactly what state government was created for. In addition to my response to the housing crisis earlier in this questionnaire, I will work with state/public/ngo agencies to build at least 25,000 low-income houses/apartments each year and rent these to low-income and unemployed Oregonians. I will transition us to a renter-to-owner program rather than the existing rent only/mortgage program.

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

Yes

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?

In addition to halving our ridiculously overpopulated classes and ending all cuts to education funding, I will use technology to motivate students, diversify activities in the classroom and allow students to home in on their favorite ways to showcase their learning, and use online standards-based assessments to benchmark our students throughout the school year to pinpoint exactly where they are struggling and focus the curriculum and lessons there. We need to personalize student learning which will give them the chance to get to know their learning styles and take ownership of their coursework. When students are on pathways that are relevant and meaningful to their interests, they are more likely to feel as though they are co-designers of their curriculum and environment. When taking personalized learning into consideration, we can always and should in case by case take it one step further by offering online credit recovery. Online learning offers opportunities for students to remediate or accelerate their learning. Having a program that is flexible and designed to fit the needs of all your students is key to success. Students are often in an asynchronous environment, making online learning difficult, especially for students who are working to catch up on credits in order to graduate on time. This is why support through one-on-one instruction provides opportunity for learners to gain clarity where they are struggling and confidence in their schoolwork.

Building a sense of connection to one’s community, both inside and outside of the classroom, is just as an important way for students to feel a sense of belonging. Providing opportunities for volunteering and giving back to your local community is a great way to get students involved in the issues that matter most. Parents are more than ever critical to the success or failure of a student’s final outcome. Family engagement is a critical piece to ensure that students have the support they need as they work toward graduation. By welcoming families into schools and making sure that there is effective communication, we allow and encourage parents to be advocates for their children, which protects and promotes their successes. Students need to feel safe and secure. They need to know that they can freely speak their minds in the classroom without fear of bullying, intimidation, and terrorism. This will allow students to gain the confidence to nurture curiosity and empower them as they grow to find school a positive environment that they want to come back to.

To sum up my rather ambitious but achievable education goals and vision, connections and feeling safe are so important to students as they work toward their education. Mentoring is a great way to take things one step further. When students know they are accountable to themselves and have one person looking out for them, they feel special and important. Mentorship programs are often a great way for students to build relationships with community role models, explore career paths, and even volunteer. Obviously as governor I will unleash the financial floodgates to these and extra curricular programs.

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?

I will adopt the the child care and preschool provisions from the Build Back Better Act within my first 100 days along with universal paid leave.

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

No

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.

YES. Money does not equal free-speech, and as governor I will have the legislature introduce legislation repealing citizens vs united which I will gladly sign into law in my first 100 days. I will also introduce campaign media reform that requires the media to cover all candidates equally not just the front runners. Just last week KATU News informed all the candidates of the two debates they will be having but in order to participate, each candidate must have raised $750,000. Nowhere in the state constitution does it say to run for governor you must raise 3/4 of $1 million.

Do you believe Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election?

Yes

Would you support creation of a sales tax in Oregon?

No

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?

Yes

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.

ABSOLUTELY NOT I will actually push the legislature to codify all of the decisions that support the right of a woman to choose.

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

Divorced and segregated from each other at best forced to compete for the same resources with unequal means. Neither cares for each other openly hostile preventing any meaningful bridging.

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

I will meet with all the county commissioners and leaders in my first 100 days and visit every county in my first year holding constituent town halls getting to know the residents and their issues in both rural and urban Oregon. I will listen. I will include everyone regardless of their political affiliation or philosophy.

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

Is this a joke?

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

Her handling of COVID-19

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

Bud Clark, who in many ways resembles me is an Oregon leader I admire and strive to emulate. A left-leaning populist with little political experience before his mayoral bid, he was one of Portland’s most colorful political figures (kind of like me with my flamboyant puns and where-there-is-a-will-there-is-a-bike outlook on life). As mayor, Clark created the nationally recognized 12-Point Homeless Plan, supported the growth of mass transit, including the MAX Light Rail line to Gresham, Oregon, aided downtown development. As governor I will govern in a very similar vein as Clarke prioritizing people over profits, corporations, and state bureaucracy. I will make Oregon the first state in the union to eradicate homelessness and offer true universal healthcare via Medicaid For All. Not only will I raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, but I will institute the first in the nation living wage of $25 an hour. Oregon under my governorship will become the bluest most progressive state in the United States!

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