Here are the two contenders for Oregon House District 5, which covers southern Jackson County excluding Medford. Ballots go out Friday and are due back to the Jackson County Elections Office by 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8.

Pam Marsh

Age: 61

Residence: Ashland

Occupation: Executive director, Ashland Emergency Food Bank

Education: Bachelor of Arts, Southern Oregon University, 2005; University of California, Berkeley, 1973-1975

Political experience: Ashland City Council, 2012-present; Ashland Planning Commission, 2006-2012; Ashland Charter Review Commission, 2004-2006; Palo Alto, California, Planning Commission, 1985-1993; field representative, California Legislature, 1984-1988

Top priorities: 1) Education: A healthy community depends on educated workers and citizens. To develop individuals with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed, we must invest in children from birth through college or post-high school training. Continuing support for SOU’s transition to a self-governing institution is critical to our economic prospects. 2) Renewable energy: As Southern Oregon residents, we see the effects of climate change every day, in the form of shifting agricultural patterns, tumultuous storms, droughts and forest fires. We need legislation that incentivizes the development of renewable energy projects that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide local, family-wage jobs.

 

Steve Richie

Age: 52

Residence: Ashland

Occupation: Ashland Fire sprinkler system designer

Education: Bachelor of Science in Forestry, Oregon State University

Political experience: Caucus staff, Washington Legislature, 1991-1998; caucus staff, Oregon State Senate, 1990

Top priorities: 1) Limit the size of state government and no new taxes. The budget is growing at twice the rate of population and inflation combined. That is unsustainable. With limited, controlled growth, the state can outgrow the PERS deficit without raising taxes and provide a more attractive business climate, increasing our tax base. 2) Fund education first. Legislators use children and teachers as human shields, pushing education to the end of the budget debate as other pet projects are funded first. Anyone arguing education is the chief function of state government must agree the most important budget item should be the first funded.