Five people are competing to be the Republican nominee for the U.S. Representative, 4th District seat in the May 15 election.
Court Boice, Jo Rae Perkins, Michael Polen, Art Robinson and Stefan Strek are vying for the nomination. The winner will face the Democratic nominee this fall. Incumbent Peter DeFazio, D-Springfield, and challenger Daniel Arcangel are competing for that slot.
The Democrat-Herald reached out to all five Republican candidates to discuss their backgrounds, reasons for running, their key issues and how they'd address them.
A look at the candidates:
• Court Boice, 63, lives in Gold Beach. An owner and operator of Paradise Wilderness Lodge and part-owner of Jerry's Rogue Jets, he also has worked as a tree feller and calls himself "semi-retired."
Boice said he's running as "a way to give back" to his state and to represent a bridge between the rural and urban divide.
Among his key issues are expanding tax reform, setting and enforcing term limits, better management of public land to protect natural resources, and eliminating so-called "sanctuary" protections in cities and states, which he believes aids and abets illegal immigration. He'd also strengthen oversight of the marijuana industry, giving more control to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to crack down on black market sales.
Boice said he believes he's the best candidate for voters because he believes he can beat the front-runner in the Democratic race.
"My resume’s good and my commitment to Oregon is good and my stamina is good. I’m very well known because of the Rogue River and my family name," he said. "I love Oregon; I feel like I've got to give back. To whom much is given, much is required.”
• Jo Rae Perkins, 61, of Albany has been a financial adviser, a real estate agent and a business owner, as well as former chairwoman of the Linn County Republican Party. Now, however, she is devoting her full time to politics and this campaign.
"It's a calling," she said. "It's something I'm very passionate about and something I feel is important in my life right now."
Perkins' key issues include overturning Doe vs. Bolton, a law that creates a relatively broad health exception for abortions later in a woman's pregnancy; achieving a balanced budget amendment with no new taxes; setting term limits of no more than 12 years combined for the House and Senate; overhauling the immigration system and strengthening the military.
Specific to immigration, Perkins said, she'd give current residents who were brought to the country as children, but do not have legal status, the right to remain here — if, in a six-year timeline, they filled out the paperwork to become United States citizens. She'd reform the paperwork process to make that timeline possible.
People in the country illegally who came as adults would have the same six-year window to become citizens but must leave and do so from their home countries, Perkins said. If they chose not to do so, their children would not have the option of becoming citizens.
Perkins said she believes she is the best person for the job because she's a "Main Street American" who understands what it's like in the real world.
"I am the candidate that will defeat and displace (incumbent Peter) DeFazio," she said. "There is no 'if.'"
• Stefan Strek, 27, of Eugene is currently studying for a bachelor's degree in fine arts at the University of Oregon and working in the university's financial aid department. He also has extensive experience as a farm laborer and independent contractor, but has always been passionate about politics.
"I think I have initiative to make the other people in Congress do their jobs," he said. "If I do make it in there, I will wake them up. Whether they're Democratic or Republican, they’re going to pay attention."
Strek's key issue is passing laws that impose federal penalties against "anyone infringing on our Second Amendment in any way, shape or form."
He is against background checks, age requirements and similar limits and said he'd like a complete repeal of both the National Firearms Act of 1934 and Title 2 of the Gun Control Act of 1968.
Veteran access to health care, stronger protections for foster children and adults in foster care, and a deregulated health care industry are also among his priorities.
Strek said he believes DeFazio, the incumbent, has done "very little work for 30 years" and Strek said he's the best person to make a change. "I’d actively work to pass the bills that I sponsor and focus only on those," he said.
• Art Robinson, 75, is a chemist who lives in Cave Junction. He is a former chairman of the Oregon Republican Party.
This is Robinson's fifth effort to unseat DeFazio. He said he believes each of his previous tries have built momentum and name recognition and brought him closer to the goal.
"We’ve made a lot of progress and we think that we can beat him this time," Robinson said. "We feel we shouldn't stop when we feel we’re getting close to prevailing against him.”
Key issues for Robinson are border security and an end to illegal immigration, a balanced federal budget, restoring the timber industry's access to federal forests, and reforming veterans' access to health care and protection.
Specifically, he said he'd like to take on education. He'd do that by concentrating reforms on schools in Washington, D.C., which are the only ones controlled by Congress. He'd raise teacher pay, hire the best teachers he can find and eliminate as many jobs and special-interest funds as possible that aren't directly related to the classroom. The idea would be to create a model for education that states could then choose to follow.
"I think I could take that on as a project," he said. "We need to make those schools the best in the world."
Polen did not respond to website requests for information in time for publication.
Polen, 31, is a real estate broker from Grants Pass. His campaign website describes him as a "proud supporter of the Second Amendment" and a "God-fearing Christian conservative" who believes life starts at conception. He states he believes in a wall at the border with Mexico and believes any deal on children of immigrants who were brought to the United States unlawfully should be tied to funding for that wall and other border-strengthening measures.
Polen's website and political websites describing the candidate do not list previous political experience.