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Stine seeks Bates' Senate seat

Medford Councilor Kevin Stine announced Tuesday he will seek the Democratic nomination for the Senate seat formerly held by Alan Bates, who died last Friday.

"I want to help build on the legacy that he helped create," Stine said. "I want to make sure that every man, woman and child has health-care coverage."

The 30-year-old Medford resident, who has been on the council a year and a half, said he's long had ambitions to represent a bigger population of voters. In addition to health care, Stine said he wants to continue working on Bates' legacy in supporting education.

"I hope to carry the torch," Stine said. "I hope we don't end up with a Republican who tries to undo the good work that he did."

Democrats are planning to hold two conventions on Aug. 19 to select a replacement for Bates, a local doctor who died while on a fishing trip in the Upper Rogue River, near Crater Lake, with his son.

The first convention will pick three to five candidates' names to be sent to the Jackson County Board of Commissioners, who will then pick one to serve until January when a newly elected senator is sworn in. The selection process needs to be completed within 30 days after the seat was vacated.

The second convention will nominate a candidate to run in the November election. Republicans and other political parties also may select candidates for the November election for Senate District 3, which covers the southern end of Jackson County, including Medford, Ashland and Jacksonville. The selection of party candidates must be completed by Aug. 30.

Ashland Republican Dave Dotterrer, Bates' opponent in 2010 and 2014, has indicated he's considering running again. Other names have been rumored for the Democratic ticket, but none other than Stine had announced their candidacy as of Tuesday.

Stine lost in the Democratic primary against U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden.

He said he will be seeking the nomination to run in the November election but indicated he would also serve the remaining term for Senate District 3, which encompasses Medford to Ashland and out to the Applegate.

Stine said he thinks he has the experience needed to be an state senator.

"Yes, I'm quite a bit younger than another candidates might be," he said. "I do have the life experience, and I have served 9½ years in the military."

Born in Medford, Stine said he grew up watching his mother, who worked odd jobs at gas stations and grocery stores, struggle for her family and sought government assistance to make ends meet.

"I know what it's like to be on the lower-income levels," he said. "I've used the Oregon Health Plan that was championed by Sen. Bates."

Stine said he's a strong proponent of affordable childcare for working families, and he said he's seen the importance of affordable health care for families.

"People should not fear a big bill afterward," he said. "We need to reduce prescription drug prices."

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune.com. Follow him on www.twitter.com/reporterdm.

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Kevin Stine