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 fourth 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 fourth 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.).
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?
MCENTEE: The unique thing about me is that I’ve never had to operate within a “district.” My focus has always been on making my community a better place to live for those around me, and that has included many areas around the state.
Still, many of these areas face the same struggles of Oregonians across the state. Inflation is through the roof and our economy is struggling, people are feeling less safe in their communities, the homeless crisis continues to worsen and our education system is not fitting the needs of students and businesses. There’s so much work to be done in these areas and more. But additionally, I understand that the Philomath area also has unique needs compared to the rest of the district. As I’ve worked and volunteered in these communities and traveled the district listening to the concerns of Philomath voters, I know we have to do more to help our agriculture and timber industries. Salem is too focused on Portland politics and not on the needs of this rural community. I personally know the struggles many of these families and business owners face. I’m well-suited to do the work to help better this area of our district.
GOMBERG: I live in northern Lincoln County — within the Echo Mountain Fire zone. But I believe I’ve already shown a commitment to show up in Philomath and be a part of your community.
I’ve been to your Samaritan Awards, Block Party, Sip and Stroll, and the State of the City luncheon. I’ve spoken at the Wildfire Town Hall, Armed Forces Day and the Streetscapes groundbreaking. I’ve knocked doors in your neighborhoods. And I’ve spent time to get to know your commissioners, city councilors, businesses and people.
I was a leading voice for improvements to Highway 20 between Philomath and Newport and secured funding for a new fire station in Eddyville that cuts response times to accidents.
Before redistricting, I represented portions of Tillamook, Yamhill and Polk counties. I went to Sheridan often and helped secure funds for a new CTE center. I went to Falls City — a two-hour drive — and got money for sewer repairs. I helped Tillamook County fund emergency roads, water and broadband.
I have represented and am well familiar with farming communities and logging towns. I look forward to becoming more familiar with western Benton and advocating for you as I always have for my district.
Coming Friday: 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?