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Third candidate steps up for Bates' seat

A third Medford resident is making a bid to run for the Oregon Senate seat formerly held by Alan Bates, who died unexpectedly on Aug. 5.

Stacy Bannerman, 50, who has written two books on veterans' issues and has been active in environmental and social issues, will be running against two other Medford residents, who announced their candidacy last week.

"I joined the whole Southern Oregon community in mourning the loss of Sen. Bates, who was a wonderful statesman," Bannerman said. "It would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to continue to shape that legacy in one way or another."

Other candidates who have announced include Mike Moran, a Medford resident and former policeman who has served on the local school board, and Medford City Councilor Kevin Stine.

Democrats will gather at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 19, in the Medford library to pick three to five interim candidates who would be willing to serve until January. The Jackson County Board of Commissioners will later select one of the candidates.

Also at Friday's convention, Democrats will select a single nominee who will run against other political party candidates in the November election.  

If Mike Moran, who is running in the House District 6 race against Rep. Sal Esquivel, is selected as the Senate candidate for the November race, Democrats will then have to pick a replacement candidate for him in the race against Esquivel.

Republicans will meet at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 23, at the Inn at the Commons to pick their candidate. So far no candidates have announced, though Dave Dotterrer, who ran against Bates twice, said he's still considering entering the race.

Ken Fawcett, chairman of Jackson County Republicans, said, "The challenge is to get enough names so we feel like we have a choice."

His convention will be limited to an introduction of the candidates along with a question-and-answer session, followed by the selection of a nominee to run in November.

Fawcett said about 70 precinct committee people could show up in theory, but with summer vacation the actual number could be less.

Bannerman, who said she supported Bates' efforts to improve health care and education, was the founding executive director of Sanctuary One in the Applegate and was previously director of Peace House in Ashland.

She said she remembers Bates' prediction that 50 years from now, climate change will be considered the issue of our time.

"Every other issue is impacted by climate change," Bannerman said. "For me, climate change matters the most."

Her books, "Homefront 911: How Families of Veterans Are Wounded by Our Wars" and "When the War Came Home: The Inside Story of Reservists and the Families They Leave Behind," are about veterans' issues and how both she and her husband struggled after he served two tours of duty in Iraq with the Army National Guard.

"They all come back a changed person," Bannerman said. "He come back with severe trauma." (Corrected 8/16/2016)

She has served on various educational and outreach organizations related to veterans issues and held adjunct faculty positions at several colleges and universities. She hasn't held a public office previously but has been an advocate before Congress on veterans' issues.

The funeral for Bates, who died while on a fishing trip with his son, will be at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 20, in the Stevenson Union at Southern Oregon University, 1250 Siskiyou Blvd., Ashland.

A memorial service at the Oregon State Capitol is planned at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 20, in the Senate Chambers, with a reception to follow.

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

Stacy Bannerman