• Rep. Buckley announces bid for sixth term in Salem

    Ashland Democrat says education is his No. 1 priority
  • State Rep. Peter Buckley announced Tuesday that he has filed to run for re-election in 2014.
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  • State Rep. Peter Buckley announced Tuesday that he has filed to run for re-election in 2014.
    The Ashland Democrat has been co-chairman of the Joint Committee on Ways and Means since 2008, helping craft the state's budget.
    If successful in his campaign, Buckley would serve a sixth term in 2015-17.
    Buckley, 56, was first elected in 2004 and became the assistant Democratic leader in 2005 and the majority whip in 2008. He served as chairman of the House Education Committee in 2007 and 2008.
    Buckley is so far unopposed in the Democratic primary. No other candidates have filed for the seat from other parties.
    Buckley said his priority has always been and remains public education.
    "We made great progress with education until 2007," he said. "Then we got slammed by the recession. Now we've been increasing education funding again."
    In the 2015 legislative session, Buckley said, he hopes to continue that emphasis on better funding for schools.
    Buckley said the Legislature has been effective in holding down costs for public safety, and said he believes health care reform implemented in the state should also help curb expenses.
    He noted that Gov. John Kitzhaber has created a team to work on revenue reform to create a more equitable system of taxation in the state. But any discussion of a sales tax would likely be a nonstarter, Buckley said.
    Buckley also has advocated for creating a more regulated medical marijuana distribution system in the state and championed House Bill 3460, which allows the establishment of medical marijuana dispensaries.
    Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune.com. Follow on Twitter at @reporterdm.
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