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Teens question Oregon gubernatorial candidates


PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – Oregon high school students posed questions on topics from foster care to gun restrictions to LGBTQ bullying during the first debate between the state’s main gubernatorial candidates.

The meeting Tuesday evening in Portland featured Democratic Gov. Kate Brown, Republican Knute Buehler and Patrick Starnes of the Independent Party.

The candidates sparred most intensely over the topic of education funding. with Buehler asserting that the single biggest failure of Brown’s administration was that not enough money was getting into the classroom.

Brown countered that by significantly investing in underserved communities, graduation rates have gone up.

Later, 15-year-old Rose Lawrence from Portland asked the candidates three times what they would do as governor to make schools safe for LGBTQ youth after saying she didn’t think the candidates had answered her question.

Buehler, a prominent Republican in the Oregon Legislature, beat two main rivals in the GOP gubernatorial primary. Buehler was the most centrist of the Republican front-runners.

Last week, he unveiled his education plan, in which he would seek a minimum 15 percent funding increase in biennium education budgets, paid for by cuts in state and local government employees’ pension plan and health benefits

The Democratic incumbent Brown was first appointed governor in February 2015 after the resignation of John Kitzhaber. She easily was elected in her own right in 2016 to finish out the term of Kitzhaber, who resigned amid accusations of influence peddling involving his fiancee.

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