By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
May 20 marks the date for the 2014 primary election.
Among the most heated political battles has been the state Republican House District 25 battle between 1430 KYKN radio talk show host Bill Post and retired state employee Barbara Jensen.
The campaign has been marked by controversies, starting in February when Jensen entered the race. Her campaign promptly accused Post’s of violating Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules regarding equal airtime for candidates. That led to Post quitting the radio show he’d hosted since 2009, while Jensen used part of the airtime given to her to promote local charities – the execution of which led to more controversy.
As mentioned last week in the Keizertimes, Jensen recently announced her positive campaign pledge, which Post found unnecessary to agree to in light of not running a negative campaign.
With the primary coming up next week, we asked the candidates to explain from their perspective the FCC controversy and to share their views on topics voters have been talking to them about the most.
FCC equal airtime
“They (the Jensen campaign) don’t understand the FCC rules. Really, no one does. The station owner and I went to the Oregon FCC-appointed lawyer and asked him what the rules were. We eventually did feel concrete enough about it and we also talked to two attorneys in Washington D.C. It’s clear there is no rule an on-air person has to get off the air if you’re campaigning.
“We were told that what you do is the day you get a letter from an opponent, an actual filed candidate, the clock starts. When you get that letter, you have three choices: you give them equal access (not the same as equal time), a chair and studio available to you like it is for me. B, you get off the air or C, you get them to sign a waiver saying you can stay on, we don’t care. We went off the air immediately. We were off that day. We completely complied with the nebulous FCC rules.”
Getting airtime and what happened with charitable organizations
“We negotiated out the time. They provided 15 hours. We came up with about 500 minutes on the air, with 300-some minutes in promotions. We decided: let’s take some time and promote charitable organizations and issues I’m passionate about.”
On Oregon World War II Memorial Foundation: “We traced that several different ways. We made a direct call to the president, to have conversations with Louis (Jaffe). He did not get back. I’m not aware there’s no approval and I do the ad. I have 32 years of experience. You don’t do this without approval from a business. You need the approval from start to end. I also sent an e-mail to a person at the WWII Memorial. It was not direct ask; it said I’m looking forward to doing this for you. I was very disappointed the i’s were not dotted and the t’s were not crossed. I just assumed; it was a bad assumption.”
United Gospel Mission: “An approach was made by my staff to get the OK. A nod was given and what to donate was given. I later found out it was an incorrect address and donation items. Later we learned it didn’t go to the top. We made a request to a person we thought would do it. It didn’t get done again. So there I was in another ad. It was an intense time. We pulled it (the last week of April).”
What issues are important to HD 25 voters and what are your views on those issues?
“Agriculture is a main issue. I would like to see us progress the tax credit on crop donation. It is $.15, which is a start. I can see us pushing it up to $.50. We have to get to a place to where we use the crop well and we need to support the farmers. They have the most experience.”
Cover Oregon: “The accountability of government is also big. This is unbelievable, this Cover Oregon. I spent 32 years managing projects in four state agencies. I’ve done statewide initiatives like Y2K. The whole Cover Oregon phenomenon is not one person. Having done Y2K, I know how broken the state systems are. Their timeline was just impossible. There were no protections for the state.”
Government oversight: There are oversight standards. I worked for 10 years in (information technology). Standards were followed on paper, but not responded to in practice. They just didn’t get there. I’ve been there. I know the questions to ask. We used to get exercises where agencies had to cut 10 percent from their budgets.”
Gay marriage: “Traditional, between man and woman. I have made that known formally.”
“I’ve talked to hundreds and hundreds of candidates over the years. You have to do it to truly understand. I have not knocked on as many doors as I would like to, because I have a serious back issue, a herniated disk. So I’m calling them instead. People want to talk. Calls are supposed to be, ‘I’m Bill, I’m running for office, please think of voting for me.’ But everyone I call in Keizer, I never have a short call.
“The issues are still the same ones as what drove me to do the radio show and to run. It’s a very conservative district. People are still concerned about bills that came up in the last two years about Second Amendment issues and threats to gun rights. I knew it was a big issue, but I thought jobs and the economy would be tops. I’m also hearing about social issues. People ask, ‘Are you still going to be pro-life?’ Of course I am.”
Gay marriage: “I am in support of Oregon Measure 36, that defined marriage as being between one man and one woman. That is what I stand by. It was approved by a fairly overwhelming majority in Oregon. I don’t believe Oregon has changed that much in 10 years.
“The great thing about Oregon, if you want a change, you can put in on the ballot. I will stand by what people have to say. I’m not going to fight it. I am against same sex marriage. I believe between man and woman is what God intended. But I respect and love everybody.”
Cover Oregon: “It’s an absolute mess. I knew we would come to where we are now, joining the federal exchange. There’s a lot of coulda woulda shoulda here in Oregon. I don’t know how I would have voted. It’s easy to look backwards. The legislators had two horrible tasting sandwiches and they took the one that tasted less horrible.”