The following letters are recommendations from the public for the May 15 primary elections. The Spokesman doesn’t care who you vote for, as long as you turn in your ballots by 8 p.m. Tuesday at a ballot box (sooner if you are mailing it in). Ballots in Redmond can be turned in outside the Redmond Public Library, 827 SW Deschutes Ave.

Starnes for governor

Contrary to what the major parties would like you to believe, an Independent can get elected governor in Oregon. When 38 percent of Oregon voters are with neither of the two big parties (Democrats only have 36 percent of the vote Republicans have even less (26 percent), an independent candidate only needs the largest third of the votes in a three way split, and there are many Dems and Republicans that are unhappy with their candidates in this election, which further favors an independent.

An independent will win the governor’s race when they campaign on an issue that reaches across the political spectrum from conservative to liberal. Campaign finance reform is such an issue. It is the elephant in the room. Everyone can see it but few politicians dare speak of it for fear they will lose their huge campaign donors. Everyone knows there will be no acceptable PERS reform, education reform, health care or tax reform unless there is campaign finance reform first. Campaign finance reform is therefore common ground and a highest priority.

My name is Patrick Starnes and I am the independent candidate for governor who is campaigning to get big money out of politics. I am the only candidate who is role modeling campaign finance reform by limiting my contributions to $100 or less per person. I believe strongly in the Constitution and our freedom of speech yet we have a problem with volume! Wealthy large donors, corporations and huge special interests are drowning out the regular person’s freedom of speech. Corporations are NOT people. Voters are people. And voters need to be the only donors.

I promise to spend my first hundred days building a bi-partisan coalition to pass campaign finance reform and sign that first piece of legislation before any other.

By role modeling campaign finance reform and winning the governor’s race we will allow other state senators and state representatives to come out from the shadows of big moneyed special interests. They will be free to do what the founding fathers intended and support us, the people.

On my travels across this beautiful state, from the Snake River to the coast, I hear from lifetime Democrats and Republicans who are coming over to our side. They are excited to see a candidate willing to tackle the corruption that is bred by our broken electoral system.

Many voters do NOT feel like their voice is heard and they feel like their vote is wasted on a choice between two evils.

I want to empower voters with our mission to get big money out of politics and offer them a third choice: a positive choice for Oregon.

I, Patrick Starnes, have only small donors supporting me so I have no strings attached. Please call or text at 541-580-9120 or email: and visit:

Patrick Starnes


(Starnes is an independent candidate for governor)

Neahring for Congress

I know there is support for Democratic candidates who can connect with rural voters, because I ran two strong races for state representative in North Central Oregon as a “fair frugal farmer” in 2002 and 2006. I am happy to see a Palliative Care physician, Dr. Jenni Neahring from Bend, running in this year’s Democratic congressional primary.

Dr. Neahring stopped by my farm near Culver recently and we had a good visit. She is passionate about expanding health care access, quality, and affordability. The Affordable Health Care Act might not be perfect, but it has helped families in Eastern Oregon as much as any part of our state.

The number of Americans without health care was almost cut in half from 2010 to 2016; 48 million to 28 million. States like Oregon that chose to expand Medicaid saw the percent of uninsured cut in half from 18 percent in 2013 to 9 percent in 2016.

Despite this, Greg Walden played a leading role gutting ACA and replacing it with “Trumpcare” which will take away insurance from millions of Americans

Dr. Jenni Neahring, on the other hand, wants to help improve the Affordable Care Act that has improved the finances and health of so many rural Oregonians. She has my vote in the Democratic Primary!

Jim Gilbertson


I endorse Dr. Jenni Neahring for Congress, a physician and problem-solver who has diagnosed the hardships Greg Walden has inflicted on Oregonians across the 2nd District and who offers the vision, skills and homegrown devotion residents need to improve communities abandoned by Walden’s Beltway priorities.

I encourage Oregonians to join me in helping to release Oregon’s 2nd District from a Cliven Bundy sympathizer and give its people a representative who will put them first.

Jenni will protect Medicare and Medicaid and work to support rural hospitals that Walden threatens. She demands that Congress start financing much-needed infrastructure, expand renewable energy and focus on job creation, and stop funding so-called “limited” nuclear bombs, tax breaks for the rich and unnecessary border walls.

Most of all, Jenni knows Congress is broken and is determined to help fix it. Gridlock, party-above-country thinking, bowing down to special interests, and partisan warfare — these abuses must stop before American democracy itself is endangered. Jenni is the candidate with skills to help fix a broken system.

Having served Oregonians in Congress for 18 years, I have a deep appreciation for what it takes to meet the challenges and responsibilities of governing. In this crowded primary field, I believe Jenni Neahring stands out as the best candidate and someone who can effectively represent all of the citizens of Oregon’s 2nd District.

Les AuCoin

Bozeman, Montana

(AuCoin, who was a reporter for the Spokesman in the 1960s, represented Oregon’s 1st Congressional District from 1975-93)

DeBone for county commission

Tony DeBone has proved to be a man of his word and a dedicated county commissioner who bases his decisions on everyone’s needs, not just those of a particular group. As treasurer of the La Pine Community Kitchen, I can attest to Tony’s support of local non-profit, charitable organizations. With his business background, he continues to focus on a diverse economy for Deschutes County.

Tony has represented ALL of Deschutes County with honesty and a vision that protects our rural environment while building for the future. I recommend Tony DeBone for re-election as Deschutes County Commission, Position No. 1.

Clyde Evans

La Pine

Baney for county commission

In 2017, I participated in the Deschutes County College, an eight-week course offering citizens of the county an opportunity to learn more about how our county tax dollars are spent, the services the various departments provide and meet our three elected county commissioners. During the first class, each county commissioner presented and discussed their roles on various committees, their specific interests, background and expertise.

I met and spoke with Tammy Baney on more than one occasion about my recent move to Central Oregon and my concerns related to my area. Ms. Baney not only listened, she followed up with me personally. Her presence throughout the classes as well as running a public county meeting were nothing but professional, her demeanor kind and her knowledge of our county very thorough.

In contrast, my personal experience with Patti Adair (who is running against incumbent Tammy Baney) was negative. As a fellow participant of our County College group, I found Ms. Adair lacking in listening skills, she did not follow through on a task she assured me she would, and repeatedly carried on distracting personal conversations during presentations by various country departments. I was unclear then of her agenda as a participant in our group, but now can see her political motivations — and I certainly won’t vote for her in this Oregon Primary.

Tammy Baney is the only choice for Deschutes County Commissioner Position 3.

Sharon Murphy