State Rep. Nancy Nathanson, a Democrat from Eugene, will face Republican challenger Timothy “Sean” Sutherland for the 13th District in the Nov. 8 general election.
The district includes downtown Eugene and northeast of River Road and west of Interstate 5.
Nathanson has held this position since 2007 and lives in Eugene with her husband. Prior to his tenure, Nathanson worked in academic libraries for over 30 years.
Sutherland moved to Eugene from Texas 12 years ago to be closer to her 13-year-old son and works as a sales director in a large insurance market.
Rep. Nancy Nathanson
He said in a phone interview that Nathanson wants to work for Oregonians and help communities in areas such as addressing real issues with homelessness, public safety and education.
“It’s really rewarding to realize that you can make a difference in the life of one person or thousands of people through your actions,” Nathanson said.
One bill he is most proud of is House Bill 2832 in 2015, which would curb predatory financial practices and fraudulent charges on college student debit cards. Other things she mentioned are increased protections for trailer park residents – HB 3016 in 2015 – and senior citizens in assisted living facilities – HB 3262 in 2017.
Regarding homelessness, Nathanson said he believes in the need to help people deal with the chronic causes of homelessness, such as mental health treatment.
“If you’re only offering drug and alcohol counseling — let’s say if you’re not dealing with a mental health issue — you still haven’t helped the person ultimately find a permanent solution,” Nathan said. “I want to make sure that when it comes to providing housing, especially emergency and transitional or temporary housing, we have those support services.”
Each legislature has funded a portion of the America’s Rescue Plan Act for the recovery of COVID-19 in the past two years. Nathan said it’s important for him to use it when opening safe sleeping sites with services for homeless people.
Improving education is another major area of interest for Nathanson. He points to the need to transfer course credits between different universities, whether they are a community college or a major institution. His campaign website also cites the need to provide quality technical education courses and programs that prepare students for careers. Protecting schools and businesses from cyber attacks was another of his highlights.
“In Oregon alone, we have nearly 4,000 cyber jobs, so I am committed to helping protect our schools, local governments and businesses from cyber crime,” he said.
Nathanson’s campaign had raised just over $83,300 this year through Friday, according to the Oregon Secretary of State’s office. It spent just under $132,000. The balance last year was just over $90,500.
Timothy ‘Sean’ Sutherland
For Sutherland, the idea of running for the House of Representatives came a few days before the deadline to enter. Members of the Republican Party, after noticing that Nathanson was unopposed, asked him to run.
Sutherland said he is angry with the state of Oregon, saying it is politically “out of balance” in many areas of governance. One of the areas he wants to change is education, saying he disagrees with how long it has taken to return to private learning and ease the mask mandate after the pandemic.
“I was driving around the daycare (center) the other day and I saw maybe 30 kids all playing outside in their masks, and I thought, ‘What a sad situation,'” Sutherland said in a phone interview. “This is stupidity. No one in charge in Oregon reads any news coming out of east Eugene.”
Sutherland works for an insurance company. This is his first step into politics. One of his priorities would be to eliminate Proposition 110, which makes the non-commercial personal possession of drugs, including meth and heroin, a lower-level misdemeanor. He said he thinks repealing the measure will be successful.
“If we bring it back, everyone will oppose it, so we need leadership to work to repeal Measure 110,” he said.
Other areas Sutherland said he wants to change in Oregon are increasing funding and staffing for police departments and trying to impose restrictions on late-term abortions.
Regarding the police, Sutherland said that he thinks that the arrests of people who threaten others should be increased.
“We need to be able to arrest people who are dangerous. Arrest, term,” he said. And we have to have places to put them and keep them.”
Sutherland’s campaign had raised just over $3,000 this year through Friday, according to the Oregon Secretary of State’s office. It cost a little over $2,400.
Contact reporter Louis Kraus [email protected]call 541-521-2498 or follow him on Twitter @louiskraussnews.