The Benton County Elections Office plans to mail out ballots this week for the Nov. 8 general election and in an effort to help voters get to know the candidates a little better, the Philomath News asked each of them five questions.

This is the first of a five-part series of questions and answers to be published this week at PhilomathNews.com. Two candidates are running for state representative in the 10th district — incumbent David Gomberg and challenger Celeste McEntee.

This is the first of five questions asked of the candidates. Each candidate was allowed no more than 200 words for each individual answer with no exceptions. Answers were edited only for punctuation and typos and to conform to newspaper style guidelines (abbreviations, capitalization, etc.).

How would you define the responsibilities of a state legislator and what do you believe constitutes appropriate and effective citizen representation?

GOMBERG: The Oregon Constitution requires us to participate in legislative sessions, to pass laws and write a budget. But certainly in these demanding times there is much more to the job.

I believe it is critical for a legislator to communicate, to show up across the district, and to be accessible and available.

I answer hundreds of emails each week. I return calls. And every Monday I write a newsletter that now goes to 10,000 addresses. (Sign up at www.oregonlegislature.gov/gomberg).

Good people occasionally disagree. But I work hard to listen and to explain my votes — especially if we disagree.

I’m a moderate or centrist Democrat who works across party lines. For example, I’m endorsed by both the Sierra Club and the Forest Industries Council. I’ve also been nominated by the Independent Party of Oregon.

Finally I would say that it is the responsibility of a legislator to represent our state, but particularly our part of the state. Smaller and rural communities need strong voices in Salem to ensure our voices are heard, our needs are addressed, and that money spent by Oregon reaches all parts of Oregon — including our part of Oregon.

MCENTEE: I believe the role and responsibilities of a state legislator is to represent the people and be their voice in state government. For too long Salem, and Oregon, has been dominated by one-party rule. This has left our state to go down the road of extremist policies, one-sided debate and a lack of balance in deciding what’s best for our region. We deserve a balanced approach, where the needs of people are put above political parties. 

Our region is one of the most dynamic areas of Oregon and a backbone for the rest of the state. We have some of the most vital economic drivers, yet we still struggle with some of the most basic issues of homelessness and lack of public safety.

As a state legislator, I will go to Salem to prioritize all the issues that matter to the constituents of the 10th house district. I will be a balanced leader who will put people above politics and be our independent voice in state government.

Coming Tuesday: What background do you have in your personal and professional life that you believe work in your favor to represent citizens in your district?

CANDIDATES Q-and-A
PUBLISHED
Monday, Oct. 17: How would you define the responsibilities of a state legislator and what do you believe constitutes appropriate and effective citizen representation?
COMING
Tuesday, Oct. 18: What background do you have in your personal and professional life that you believe work in your favor to represent citizens in your district?
Wednesday, Oct. 19: What politician, whether it’s local, state or federal, do you most admire or has had the most influence on you as you go through your own journey seeking office?
Thursday, Oct. 20: Redistricting has placed Philomath in House District 10 and with your background and residency on the coast, do you believe you’ll need to adjust or balance your approach in how you would represent the various interests that you might find in these communities?
Friday, Oct. 21: Housing, health care, transportation and education are examples of common issues that come up during elections. What’s the one issue that really gets you worked up, something you want to prioritize, during a two-year House term?

Brad Fuqua, Philomath News

Brad Fuqua has covered the Philomath area since 2014 as the editor of the now-closed Philomath Express and currently as publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He has worked as a professional journalist since 1988 at daily and weekly newspapers in Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, Arizona, Montana and Oregon.