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Knute Buehler prepared to take on Gov. Brown


A Bend candidate who clinched the Republican nomination to potentially unseat Oregon Gov. Kate Brown in November knows he has to hit the ground running.

Republican nominee and state Rep. Knute Buehler is already hot on the campaign trail. He spent Wednesday morning discussing Oregon’s educational system at the Portland Public Schools headquarters.

Buehler called on Brown to back other legislation in next week’s special session, which the governor called for just one day, to pass a tax break for some small businesses. Buehler said in a news release Brown should also support legislation he will introduce “to end the practice of school district union contracts that allow the purging of personnel documents to protect sexual predators.”

Buehler got 47 percent of Republican votes Tuesday, beating out two other GOP front-runners, Sam Carpenter and Greg Wooldridge.

The orthopedic surgeon will now spend the next five months campaigning for the office of governor against the Democrat who defeated him six years ago in a bid for secretary of state. She was the incumbent at the time. before Gov. John Kitzhaber’s resignation elevated her to governor, a post she also won election to in 2016.

Buehler said his campaign will focus heavily on revamping Oregon’s educational system. He said there are too many students not graduating from high school.

Buehler also wants to change the way tax dollars are spent. On both of these subjects, Buehler said Brown has not done a good job, and he’s comfortable telling her so.

“Gov. Brown last night, I heard her propose three debates. I encourage Gov. Brown to not think so small. I counter-proposed with 10 debates all across the state of Oregon,” Buehler said.

Buehler said he’s proposing two debates in each congressional district. He’s hopeful he can appeal to voters across party lines.

“The Buehler campaign is open to everyone, no matter where you live or how you’re registered to vote or who you supported in the past. It’s time to put those things behind us and unite around a new vision, a vision of abounding love and problem-solving,” Buehler said.

But, in general, he wants to address what he calls Oregon’s problems.

“Our focus is really on the problems, the problems in Oregon that have been avoided and ignored,” Buehler said. “It’s time to start fixing some of these problems. In fact, it’s past time, and that’s what Oregonians want. They’re hungry for that change.”

NewsChannel 21 asked Gov. Kate Brown for a comment, but she was not available for an interview. Instead, she sent the following statement:

“We’ve shown Washington, D.C., what real leadership looks like. It’s called getting stuff done.”

“We passed the largest transportation package in Oregon’s history, the nation’s first ‘coal to clean’ bill, and I fought to make sure we had funding in place for the Oregon Health Plan.”

“I am seeking another term to continue to fight to make Oregon a place where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. To do that, we need to continue our progress on making sure that everyone has access to the healthcare they need, a high-quality education and a good job.”

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