It’s going to be a no-holds-barred match with Dennis Richardson’s campaign for the governor’s race in November.
The Republican nominee spoke out in an interview Tuesday, July 15 against Gov. John Kitzhaber’s handling of the state seat over the last three terms. “The Oregon people need to ask, ‘what has (Kitzhaber) done to earn a fourth term?’” Richardson said.
There are three primary goals Richardson wants to accomplish if elected governor, starting with lowering the high unemployment rate.
He also points out that Oregon ranks 49th of the states in education. He points to Lakeview as prime example of how to properly run a public education system by taking a vested interest in their high school students to ensure each has a mentor and opportunities to nurture their development. Kitzhaber’s campaign says that there are policies and structures in place to achieve the Oregon 40-40-20 educational goal, which Kitzhaber plans to adequately fund and implement if he is elected.
The major problem Richardson wants to fix is the failure in the Cover Oregon program, which has cost 300 million dollars of taxpayers’ money. Kitzhaber agrees that the Cover Oregon program was a misstep and is taking steps to sue Oracle Corp, the information technology company in charge of the program.
Included with his list of grievances with Gov. Kitzhaber is the lack of stewardship. He made an example of the Columbia River Crossing project, which was never completed and cost Oregon $175 million in the process, Richardson said.
He isn’t just taking the fight to Kitzhaber, but the people as well. In February he collected the personal email addresses of more than 420,000 Oregon citizens. These emails are used to get input from citizens about current issues and get more name recognition statewide. Although he is confident this is a respectable approach to Oregon votes, the public has criticized Richardson of being the “spam king” politician when he used this tactic in 2012.
Richardson won the Republican nomination with 66 percent of the vote, beating six other relatively unknown nominees. His history as Speaker Pro Tempore of the Oregon House of Representatives, he believes gives him the ability to work across the aisle separating Democrats and Republicans. As co-chair of the Joint Senate and House Ways and Means Committee, Richardson is able to control state funding.
His platform is based on helping small businesses across the state. “The backbone of our economy. I understand that it’s a challenge for (small businesses in) Lakeview because it’s off the beaten path,” said Richardson.