The Benton County Elections Office planned 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 fifth of a five-part series of questions and answers to be published this week at Two candidates are running for state representative in the 10th district — incumbent David Gomberg and challenger Celeste McEntee.

This is the fifth 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.).

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?

MCENTEE: As our state representative, I’ll focus on a number of issues that matter to our district — but we have to do better at focusing on issues that will grow our inland and coastal economies. We are not a one-size-fits-all state. The policies that work for Portland or Eastern Oregon are not the same that work for us. Our small farmers and timber, fishermen and developers, are continuing to get squeezed out and forgotten. We have to do more to make these industries sustainable.

However, there are more issues I’d like to focus on that are important for our region. The homeless crisis and public safety are major issues. We need to find common-sense solutions for helping people get back on their feet and ensuring families feel safe in their own homes again.

Additionally, we need to revamp our K-12 education system to better prepare students to enter the workforce here, not simply trying to lower standards to ensure kids follow predetermined “best paths” that current representatives and Portland politicians think is best for all kids.

I look forward to going to Salem to bring balanced, common-sense solutions that work best for the people of House District 10.

GOMBERG: Everyone gets worked up about housing, health care, transportation and education. And they should! Those are consequential and life-affecting issues we struggle with. I’ll continue to be on the front lines of those large issues.

That said, I’m a small business guy and as I’ve said, there are precious few of us in the Capitol. I get worked up about creating jobs and supporting rural economic development. I sponsored the creation of the Small Business Assistance Center and doubled funding for Small Business Development Centers. I got money to employers and employees during the pandemic. I’ve been named a champion of “Main Street” for housing in small communities. I’ve worked to expand child care because housing and child care are major reasons we can’t find employees.

Last session, Speaker Dan Rayfield honored me with the responsibility to recommend $100 million for rural infrastructure — water, sewer, roads, ports, parks. Now he has asked me to do the same for rural economic development.

I’ll continue to work to support seniors, veterans, and be better prepared for natural disasters. Finally, I get really worked up advocating for our district, the people who live and work here, our remarkable lifestyle and magnificent natural resources.

Monday, Oct. 17: How would you define the responsibilities of a state legislator and what do you believe constitutes appropriate and effective citizen representation?
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.