Skip to Content

2nd District candidates Bentz, Spenser share views with NewsChannel 21

(Update: Adding video, views on more issues)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The two major-party candidates competing for Oregon's 2nd Congressional District seat held by retiring Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., offered their views in interviews this week with NewsChannel 21.

For Democrat Alex Spencer, unity across the aisle is a top concern.

"We have to bring the people together in Congress," she said. We have to end the divisiveness in Congress."

Republican and former state senator Cliff Bentz, however, said the recent wildfires have better forest management on his mind.

"What did we lose, like 1, 2 percent -- 1 percent, I think, of our forest?" Bentz said. "Ninety-nine percent is still there, and we need to be doing something about it, so I would be making that one of my highest priorities."

COVID-19 relief was also a topic of discussion for both candidates.

One question was about the balance approach of taking care of tenants and landlords, as tenants are struggling to pay rent and landlords are struggling to pay their mortgages due to a statewide rent moratorium.

Bentz said he wants to find a way to hold landlords harmless.

"It's horribly unfair to go in and say to a landlord, 'You will not collect rent, and you won't take any action to evict. We're going to impose upon you the cost.'"

"I'm not unhappy with the concept of giving people a 'rent vacation,' if you will," he said. "But to say that they're going to pay that accrued rent back is, simply at the end of the period of time -- it isn't going to happen."

Spenser had a similar outlook on that issue, offering an expansive debt relief approach.

"I think that it's time, across America (for) an old-style jubilee where we forgive those debts that have been made to the federal government, whether it be for student loans or FHA loans," she said.

The two candidates also spoke on separate issues important to them.

Spenser expressed that she wants America to embrace the concept of Black Lives Matter.

"We need to address the systematic racism that we see in America," she said. "It's so very, very important."

"...And remember that those people that have been out on the street, leaving their families, leaving their homes, leaving their children so that they could go out and try and make to difference, try to be heard," Spenser added.

The candidate touched on nationally known black community members killed by police, such as Gorge Floyd and Breonna Taylor. She also mentioned Ahmaud Arbery.

"We have to address the systemic racism across the board, America," she said. "And when we do that, when Black Lives Matter, then all lives will matter, and we can have equity in our America."

Bentz, meanwhile, spoke on the issue of health care, specifically taking aim at Obamacare. He told NewsChannel 21 he wants to see it repealed.

"You can't just repeal it and wash your hands of it," he said. "You've got to say, 'Hey, the pre-existing condition issue and the issue having to do do with the people who are accessing coverage through that space need attention.'"

The candidate focused on the price tag, which he says is too high.

"The trouble is, Obamacare is horribly expensive, so we can't just pretend that these costs don't exist," Bentz said. "And when we go in to try and fix these things, we've got to figure out how to drive down the cost of health care."

The two candidates vastly differ in name recognition and funding. Although there are 40,000 more registered Republican voters in the state's largest congressional district, Spenser is hoping the 200,000 non-affiliated voters can change the ending that experts predict.

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

Blake Allen

Blake Allen is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Blake here.


KTVZ NewsChannel 21 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content