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Jobs at core of Oregon House race

In the race for Oregon House District 5, incumbent Rep. Peter Buckley, D-Ashland, and challenger Nick Card, R-Medford, bring opposite perspectives to the table concerning job creation in Southern Oregon.

Buckley, who has held the seat since 2005, points with a firm finger toward enhancing education and reaping the benefits of doing so, while Card, a 25-year-old political newcomer, stands behind tax breaks as incentives for businesses — especially high-tech — eyeballing Jackson County as a home base.

“I want to attract new startups to Oregon. People don’t look at Oregon, people don’t look at the Rogue Valley for locating their business. They look to San Francisco, then to Seattle ... and Denver,” says Card, who won his spot on the ballot as a write-in candidate.

“We just need the spark that gets the ball rolling,” Card says. “Maybe a tax holiday, if you start a new high-tech business and created good high-tech, high-paying jobs ... or a tax-free zone, that way you can start your business and start creating jobs without having to worry about the burden of taxes.”

For Buckley, it’s about building on Southern Oregon's strengths.

Having had success securing increased funding for K-12 education in the current budget cycle and looking to continue with that momentum, Buckley says, “I think higher education is the fuel to an economy. ... What we need to do is increase our focus and our investment and the results will come from our effort. I believe SOU is key to that.”

“I think my opponent says give more tax breaks and cut regulation," Buckley says. "My view is to invest in higher education, take advantage of our ability to collaborate and we will build on the strengths that we have. ... We have a culture of being able to collaborate in Southern Oregon that is very unique, and I believe bodes well for the future.

“It’s encouraging seeing progress being made and to see that we can get to a much better place, we’re on our way to getting there.”

Reach freelance reporter Sam Wheeler at samuelcwheeler@gmail.com.