Editor's note: NewsChannel 21 reached out to all of the Democratic and Republican candidates for governor and asked if they would respond to the same set of questions. We are presenting their answers online, in full and as received, except for any minor typos/spelling errors.
Republican candidate Brandon Merritt
What sets you apart from the other candidates?
My youth and professional background allows me to bridge the gap between generations and bring a unique set of skills to bear on the political situation in Salem. I have extensive experience in contract negotiations, conflict resolution, and in turning around failing corporate operations, all of which I think are directly applicable to the job facing the next governor.
What are your top three priorities and plans to address them?
My top priority is to Make Oregonians Whole Again. Coming out of the pandemic, it is not sufficient to merely end the emergency policies, we must take steps to compensate the people who were unjustly impacted.
Education is also a major priority. I am the only candidate offering a direct $7500 tax credit per child, to support families who choose to homeschool or send their children to private or charter schools. By creating competition, we will encourage local school districts to become more responsive to parents and childrens' needs.
Finally, I want to cultivate safer communities. Between the crime, homelessness, and drug abuse, Oregonians are demanding action be taken to address these glaring problems. We need to end the unconstitutional stand-down orders that have been imposed on our law enforcement, hold elected officials accountable for the outcomes of their policies, and address the root of the problem, the mental health crisis.
What one accomplishment are you most proud of and why?
Hands down, becoming a father, because I have only been able to accomplish what I have so far with the support of my family.
Why should Central Oregonians vote for you?
Just like in other parts of Oregon, everyone deserves attentive and effective representation. Living in Bend, I am very aware of the challenges facing our region. As an elected delegate in Deschutes County, I have seen first-hand how poor a job we have done engaging with younger voters. I have a vision of the governor as being a servant role with leadership characteristics, and one which values solutions over soundbites.