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Joyce Segers to run for Bates' seat

Ashland Democrat Joyce Segers, who ran twice against Congressman Greg Walden, has declared her candidacy for the state Senate seat left vacant by the unexpected death of Sen. Alan Bates Aug. 5.

Segers, 67, said Tuesday she wants to carry on the work of Bates, especially in health care, where he was a leader.

For 20 years, Segers owned and operated a medical billing company in Florida.

“I’m fully in line with what Bates did. He had a real vision, and it’s something we’re still fighting for,” she said.

Segers said she supports a woman’s right of choice and recently, while visiting new grandchildren for several months in Colorado, worked with Planned Parenthood on voter registration.

Segers attended City College of New York and is on the board of the Ashland Culture of Peace Commission, “so I consider myself a peace activist.”

Recognizing the state’s budget challenges in education and many other areas, Segers said she supports a sales tax, something Oregon has voted down many times, and also supports Measure 97, which would increase taxes on large corporations. However, she would prefer a $15 minimum hourly wage or more instead of a sales tax, she said.

Noting her husband, a Korean War veteran, committed suicide in 1972, she said she would work to increase care and benefits for veterans, adding, “It pisses me off, how we’re not dealing with the vets of Iraq and Vietnam, let alone Korea.”

She also supports the recent legalization of marijuana, as it’s been a “wonderful help” to so many veterans, she said.

On higher education funding, Segers said her son, 40, is still struggling to pay student debt, as is his wife.

“This has to stop," she said. "The nations of Europe and other areas have created free college, with equitable taxation, and this fear (of debt) has to end.”

Commenting on the partisan divide common in politics today, Segers said, “There is a way people can talk to each other calmly, without fights. We can create an atmosphere of working together for the good of everyone. I know that sounds naive, but I’m not naive. I lived through two campaigns and use FDR as my guiding light about what’s possible when things are at their worst.”

Segers works full-time at Kixx women’s clothing store in Ashland. Segers ran for Congress in 2010 and 2012.

John Darling is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Email him at jdarling@jeffnet.org.

Joyce Segers