NBC5 Hosts Southern Oregon’s only gubernatorial debate

MEDFORD, Ore.– NBC5 hosted Southern Oregon’s only gubernatorial debate Thursday.

The candidates covered a variety of issues, from healthcare, to homelessness, to gun laws.

Each candidate got a chance to talk about issues specific to Southern Oregon voters.

Tina Kotek, Christine Drazan and Betsy Johnson all had very different views on each topic.

This year’s election is unique, with voters choosing between three candidates.

All of whom are women.

The candidates were asked about what they could guarantee they would accomplish in the first year in office.

Betsy Johnson said, “I can guarantee that we will transform how we do politics in Oregon if we have an independent governor.”

Tina Kotek said, “in the first year of my administration there will be fewer people living on the streets. Our neighbors need to get off the streets, we need to help them get there.”

Christine Drazan said, “I will tear up her executive orders that are driving up costs for Oregonians and to be clear, I will get politics out of the classroom.”

The candidates also got a chance to share their views on healthcare:

“As governor, my focus will be on improving access to the healthcare that comes along with that insurance,” Kotek said.

Drazan said, “we need to continue to improve access and quality of care, without having a state takeover of our healthcare.”

“Healthcare needs to be affordable, accessible and clinically high quality,” Johnson said.

Homelessness:

Drazan said, “as governor, I will declare a homelessness state of emergency in an effort to marshal state resources and coordinate more fully with local governments.”

Johnson said, “I participated in converting an abandoned state building into a place of hope, healing and recovery, the Bybee Lakes Hope Center in Portland.”

“We need to specifically get people get connected to services, get more shelter, get more housing,” Kotek said, “My plan is specific. There are no details coming from my opponents.”

And gun laws:

Kotek said, “I’m not beholden to the NRA. I will stand up to the gun lobby to keep our communities safe.”

“I am a strong supporter of our second amendment rights. I believe it’s the role of government to preserve and protect your freedoms,” Drazan said.

Johnson said, “we must do something to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, crazy people and kids.”

You can watch our debate anytime here.

There you can find links to all of the other gubernatorial debates, so you can get a full view  of where the candidates stand on all the issues.

NBC5 News reporter Derek Strom is from Renton, Washington. He recently graduated from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communications at Washington State University with a degree in Broadcast News and a minor in Sports Management. He played in the drumline with the WSU marching band. These days, he plays the guitar and piano. Derek is a devoted fan of the Mariners, Seahawks, and Kraken.
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