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 Bill Sizemore, a Republican. These answers have not been edited.
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.
I’m Bill Sizemore. I was the Republican nominee against John Kitzhaber, back when this position was not winnable. I am a licensed general contractor with 14 employees. I have placed two dozen measures on the Oregon ballot and am responsible for billions of dollars in property tax savings for Oregon property owners.
Why should you be Oregon’s next governor?
I have a experience and political expertise to turn this state around and reverse a lot of the damage leftist Democrats have done to our beloved state. I do not back down and do not care what the liberal media says about me. I may be more articulate that Donald Trump, but I will have same kind of boldness it will take to end the stranglehold the left has on Oregon politics.
What do you think is the most pressing challenge facing Oregon today?
Many will say ending the homeless crisis is our biggest challenge, but that is just the most visible one. The real problem is lawlessness in general and the face that this state is completely controlled by the public employee unions.
What is your proposed solution to that problem? Please be specific.
We will give the homeless some options, some compassionate and some just plain old tough love. But one option will not to be to stay where they are, littering our streets and sidewalks with garbage and used needles. As for the public employee unions, I will end the use of the public payroll systems to raise political funds and coerced dues payments for politics.
Do you believe human beings are playing a part in rising temperatures?
I believe climate change is a normal part of complex array of factors and that humans at most only minimally contribute to weather cycles and that we ought to be very wary of scientists getting large grants for research telling us that we can change the weather..
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?
I would reverse Governor Brown’s executive order trying to do what could not be passed through the legislature and would veto future efforts aimed at stopping global warming or global cooling or climate change.
Oregon has experienced a high number of severe wildfires in recent years. What role should state government play in wildfire response?
Better forest management. More thinning. More controlled burns. Radical environmentalists and leftist judges have created the environment for catastrophic wildfires. I would do my best to manage forests for their best use and when there are fires, to harvest the usable timber.
Parts of Oregon now routinely face drought conditions. What role should state government play in preventing and responding to droughts?
This is too complicated an issue to answer briefly. To some extent there are real limits to what we can do. Droughts come and they go and they came and went long before the internal combustion engine was created. But I have a plan for places like the Klamath Basin and parts of the state where water can be better stored for when it is needed.
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 do support the use of body cameras. I am confident that the vast majority of our law enforcement officers are good people with a though job to do. But there is a need for some restoration of public confidence in the police. I would tend to have their backs, but when bad cops are exposed it is important that they are properly disciplined. It is so hypocritical for activists to riot when there is even a hint, real or not, of police brutality, but when rioters attack the police and show total disrespect for the law they act like it is justified. I would jail people who fight with the police or assault them or even throw things at them. If we want good law enforcement we must have their backs and not tie their hands behind their backs when a mob is attacking them.
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 are crazies on both ends of the political spectrum. Antifa is political extremism but is protected by the woke left, including most of the media. I believe there is far less of a white supremist presence in Oregon than the media suggests. I find both extremes repugnant, but I do not agree that this is nearly as much of a problem for Oregon as the stranglehold the public employee unions have on our state and the lawlessness and refusal of some district attorneys to uphold the law and prosecute criminals of all stripes.
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?
I believe it is counterproductive to purchase housing for the homeless. That is like hanging out a sign and inviting more homeless to come to our state. It is an economic fact that if you subsidize something you get more of it. That suggests to me that the more we spend offering benefits to the homeless the more homeless we will have. I would make it a priority to have mental health services available. This is an area where we have dropped the ball. I would offer drug rehabilitation services to addicts. The one thing I would not offer them is the option to stay where they are and continue trashing our streets, highways, parks, and neighborhoods. That must and will end if I am governor.
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?
I will be publishing a white paper on this topic. But I believe in competition and more school choice options, and not just government ones. I have spoken to high school classes in Oregon where students were allowed to sleep for the entire class and the teacher just let them get away with it. Motivating kids to learn is one of the most important qualities of a good teacher, but it is also something parents have to do, as well. But like I said, I will have a lot more to say about this issue in a more fleshed out form as the campaign moves along.
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?
My wife spent many years as a pre-school teacher. She was very good at it. I do not support expanding public pre-school options at a time when little ones desperately need more face time with their own parent or parents.
Do public employee unions have too much influence in Oregon? If you answer yes, please tell us which unions in particular concern you.
The worst are the teachers unions. They have an oversized amount of power and influence. This was obvious when Kate Brown gave teachers Covid vaccine access before the much more vulnerable elderly population and then didn’t even require the teachers to go back into the classrooms. If that is not a wakeup call, I am not sure what could be. The public employee unions as a whole control the state. They are the biggest donors to Democrat candidates, which explains why we spend so much on education with no meaningful accountability. That is why PERS is tens of billions of dollars in the hole and someday will sink the entire ship. If we don’t elect a governor who will break this stranglehold, nothing else we do will amount to much.
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.
Other than free speech concerns, I have never supported campaign finance limits for one powerful reason. Campaign finance limits prevent challengers from overcoming the huge advantage of incumbency. It costs a lot more money to challenge an incumbent and his or her name familiarity than it costs to defend a seat one already holds. If we want accountability and competition for ideas, we must not tie the hands of newcomers. Why else do you think there are far more candidates vying for an office when there is no incumbent?
Do you believe Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election?
Did not answer
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.
Yes. I am pro-life. The average mom finds out she is pregnant at about six weeks or a little thereafter. At six weeks the average unborn baby has its own identifiable DNA, its own blood apart from its mother’s, a detectible heartbeat, and measurable brainwaves. At that age, the little one is not by any definition just a glob of tissue. It is a developing and growing little human being and deserves the full protection of the law.
How would you describe the relationship between rural and urban Oregon today?
Rural Oregon is sorely mistreated by voters in the big population centers who have no idea what reality is in rural areas. Rural Oregonians feel mistreated and meaningless to the rest of the state and that is a tragedy that must not be allowed to continue.
What’s one thing you would do as governor to bring rural and urban Oregon together?
I have spent several decades in the Valley and a full decade in the high desert country of Central Oregon. I get it. The first thing I would do is testify to legislative committees on bills that would adversely affect rural Oregonians and if that fails to produce a good result, I would veto bills that are misguided and ill-advised.
What’s the best thing Kate Brown has done as Oregon governor?
Nothing comes to mind, and I tried.
What’s the worst thing Kate Brown has done as Oregon governor?
The worst thing she has done has been to shut down the state, including schools and businesses. Her abuse of emergency powers has done irreparable damage to hundreds of thousands of kids and thousands of businesses. .
Name another Oregon leader, either current or in the past, whose approach to public policy you admire and why.
I really appreciated the way House Speaker Lynn Snodgrass and Senate President Gene Derfler calmly but strongly presided over their respective bodies during their terms. They were easy to get along with but did not back down from taking tough stands.