Questions for the candidates: Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer on voting access, wildfires and inflation

By OPB staff (OPB)
Oct. 25, 2022 12 p.m.
Lori Chavez-DeRemer, Republican primary candidate in Oregon’s 5th congressional district, 2022.

Lori Chavez-DeRemer, Republican primary candidate in Oregon’s 5th congressional district, 2022.

Courtesy of Lori Chavez-DeRemer

Editor’s Note: Oregon’s 5th Congressional District has drawn considerable national attention for the November midterm elections, in no small part because longtime Democratic Rep. Kurt Schrader was unseated in the primaries. That’s led some political prognosticators to declare the race a toss up between Democrat Jamie McLeod-Skinner and Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer. OPB reached out to both candidates to get their views on issues that are top of mind for voters this November. Here are the responses from Chavez-DeRemer.

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Do you believe there was widespread fraud in the 2020 presidential election?

There’s always going to be some irregularities in every election. In Oregon, we need to ban ballot harvesting and enact Voter ID laws. In terms of the 2020 election, Joe Biden is the president. How do we know he is the president? He is responsible for record-high inflation, skyrocketing crime rates, and a humanitarian crisis at our southern border since he was sworn into office.

How accessible do you find voting in Oregon?

Oregon consistently has more than 70% voter turnout over the last several election cycles and is very accessible.

What is one policy you’d advocate for in Congress to reduce the effects of inflation in your district?

We need to reduce wasteful government spending. The next Congress must rein in spending and look to the free market for policies that make America more energy independent to keep the cost of living low.

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What federal policies would you support to reduce wildfire risks in Oregon?

Congressional District 5 has seen some of the most devastating wildfires in the last several years destroying communities and families. We need to make sure Congress authorizes funding to combat wildfires. This includes funding for our firefighters, mitigation projects, protecting our watersheds, and offering federal assistance to victims of wildfires. The free market is also the best approach, and we need to make sure we listen to our firefighters and timber industry on the ground to offer the assistance that they need to combat these wildfires each year.

How would you help the region manage its water supply, especially as much of the district is undergoing prolonged drought?

Central Oregon is facing a water shortage and increasingly becoming a top concern for our ranchers and farmers. We need to work with the EPA to remove barriers that have hindered water access. Reducing regulations and allowing our farmers lead is the best way to address our water drought. Central Oregon is a primary carrot seed producer to the U.S. domestic market. If we don’t have water access to grow these carrot seeds or any other crops, it devastatingly impacts Oregon’s traded sector economy and to the rest of the world. I was proud to be endorsed by the Oregon Farm Bureau because they know that I will fight for their water rights and address this concern in Congress.

Oregon has been a frequent site for political extremism in recent years. Why do you think that is, and what is Congress’ role in addressing it?

We need to elect more pragmatic leaders with a proven bipartisan track record. As mayor of Happy Valley, I did what was best for the our residents including expanding educational opportunities, creating safer routes to schools, and keeping taxes low. My opponent ran to the left of Kurt Schrader and is endorsed by extremist organizations that want to defund the police. I am proud to be endorsed by members of both parties.

Do you believe Congress should take action on abortion access following the overturning of Roe v. Wade? What action, if any, should they take?

No. [U.S. Supreme Court] Justice [Samuel] Alito got it right in his legal opinion in returning this issue back to the states. In Oregon, abortion rights are codified much like Roe. Oregonians now have 4,000,000 voices when electing their state officials.

A lack of affordable housing is impacting families across the country, including in Central Oregon. What specific strategies do you have for tackling this problem?

Oregon has a restrictive land use system that discourages the development of affordable housing. I’d be in favor of loosening our land use system and streamlining the building permit process. We also need to promote multiple housing options like middle housing.

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