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Cheri Helt’s ads targeting Jason Kropf spark clash during KTVZ debate

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – Recent negative ads from the campaign of Rep. Cheri Helt, R-Bend, about Democratic challenger Jason Kropf sparked the sharpest exchange Monday evening in the House District 54 candidates’ half-hour debate on NewsChannel 21.

“I understand that campaigns are about making clear the choices voters face. But … you’ve been outright lying about my commitment as a prosecutor here in Deschutes County to keep our community safe,” Kropf said when candidates got to ask each other a question.

Kropf, a deputy district attorney, accused Helt of lying in the ads, which note that he did not comment publicly on DA John Hummel’s claim that human trafficking does not exist in the county, or about a tort notice filed by former prosecutor Jasmyn Troncoso, who has alleged racism and sexism in the DA’s office. (An investigator recently found most claims unsubstantiated; Troncoso indicated she plans to proceed with a lawsuit.)

Kropf, who defended his 15-year record as a prosecutor of abuse and domestic violence cases, indicated in his question that he believes Helt’s ads could discourage others who need help from coming forward.

“Did you stop to think that you were potentially putting my family at risk, or were you just worried about getting re-elected?” he asked.

Helt replied: “You are not a victim. I am not a victim. I am not putting out lies. We each have a record. I am proud of the record that I have. I have a 10-year record that’s strong on education, that’s strong on housing, that's strong on health care. You have a record of silence. You have silently stood by when your boss denied that human trafficking exists. You have silently stood by when a co-worker of yours has come forward with allegations of harassment.

“And to say that you are a victim, when you are a white male that is privileged in the most powerful office in our county, is just irresponsible,” she continued.

Helt, given the chance to ask her question, asked Kropf if he believes Troncoso and whether anyone in the DA’s office, Kropf’s campaign or his endorsers “reached out and asked her not to speak for your political gain?”

Kropf replied, “I always start from a place of believing survivors. Discrimination and harassment have no place in our community, and no place in our workplace.” He said he fully supports his former colleague’s
“right to access the justice that she is seeking.”

He noted that he’s not named in Troncoso’s action, and doesn’t believe it’s his place “to use another person’s experiences and stories for some sort of political soapbox for this campaign. I strongly believe that this person's experiences should not be sensationalized for the political gain of others.”

Bend / Central Oregon / Government-politics / News / Top Stories

Barney Lerten

Barney is the digital content director for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Barney here.



  1. isn’t supposed to read” if he believes”?

    Helt, given the chance to ask her question, asked Kropf if she believes Troncoso and whether anyone in the DA’s office, Kropf’s campaign or his endorsers “reached out and asked her not to speak for your political gain?”

      1. You’ve done a good job “informing” me of stories that I obviously missed and failed to look past the headlines for. Outstanding. That said, is there a story I missed about ACB stating that her intentions are to follow and interpret the Constitution as written?

    1. Republican in name only. She votes against 2nd amendment, voted for less school funding for BL schools, gets dirty money from big money lobbyists and is pro choice. Af least this other guy is open in his views. Helt is trash. She won’t be getting my vote!!!

  2. I remember Helt taking credit for school progress as a non-voting school board member. Hey, Helt, you never mentioned the class room reachers who actually did the work. Or, were you in every classroom in the the district every hour, every day. Just go take care of your restaurants.

      1. What Bologna you are talking here!
        Leave the Family Business out of it, dipstick!
        There are plenty of hard working people committed to quality food and service. These people understand how to work non-politically as a team unlike like some of us.

    1. One of her campaign adds credits her responsible for a 10% rise in graduation rates. And the news source reference to back up the claim is ………wait for it……..The Source

  3. “you are a white male that is privileged”…………. And with that divisive-bigoted- phone waggin’ Femi-Nazi outburst…. Cheri Helt just lost my interest ! This is exactly the kind of nanny state personality that Oregonians have seen enough of from Governor “Hate” Brown ! She acts this way on public television…. I can’t even begin to imagine how she acts at home with her family-in her neighborhood community- at any school associated activity… This woman reeks of Karen syndrome- confusing tough love and abuse…. No Thank You- we all been abused enough by female haters in office- I’m giving my vote to the fictional Owen Mattson !

  4. When I see leaders behave like this, I see them trying to draw attention away from their own faults. It’s like watching children who haven’t learned self control yet.

  5. she was waving her phone around like a can of mace. Helt is misrepresenting facts quite a bit, Hummel would only be able to speak about what cases have crossed his desk. Hummel isn’t actively in the loop on all investigations going on within the county. saying the prosecutors office doesn’t care about human trafficking victims because the 4-5 different local police forces have never brought him a case to go after is shameful. the only way to bring heads on a platter, when the problem hasn’t been uncovered, is to offer sacrificial lambs to appease the gods. until the local cops, feds, or batman can uncover something, why dont we just give them the benefit of the doubt as to having hearts and souls

  6. Wow it is finally obvious that Cheri is trying to play both sides- and poorly. And on top of that, these desperate conspiracy-theory-level attacks she’s leveling at Jason- both of which she obviously can’t connect to Jason (also Jason can’t comment on an open investigation- low blow). She should be ashamed and just lost another vote. Focus on the issues Cheri- this is backfiring- badly!

  7. Shouldn’t Cheri be running as a Democrat? Especially going on the attack with the straight white male dig LOL It is fun watching the left get their own medicine used on them even if it is a Dem in Republican disguise… Remember, believe all women unless her claims are against Joe Biden or any other democrat politician….

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