GOP candidates for Deschutes Co. commissioner face off at Forum

BEND, OR — The tTwo Republicans vying for commissioner of Deschutes One County faced off in a virtual forum on Tuesday hosted by the League of Women Voters and the City Club of Central Oregon.

Main priorities

Challenger Scott Stuart and incumbent Tony DeBone were asked what they think are the biggest issues. Stuart cited water, homelessness and what he called “the voting issue”. He says these issues could all be resolved by implementing “house rule”. Stuart says: “If people vote for it in a ballot in November this year, it will give county commissioners the power to legislate ordinances that are on par with state laws. the county, “We’ve got people moving here; we’ve got high housing costs. And I’m really advocating for maybe opening the Oregon land use book.”

Response to the pandemic

The two candidates discussed a range of topics, from social justice to the water crisis to recent lawsuits against the sheriff. But things got a little heated when the candidates were asked about the county’s pandemic response. Both said Governor Brown exceeded his authority. But overall, DeBone supported county-level decisions: “I’ve always been a believer in a culture of caution and safety. If you want to get vaccinated, if you want to wear a mask, do- It may be prudent if you’re in a store and you’re immunocompromised.” Stuart gave the county an “F” grade, saying he is running for office because of what he sees as a lack of county leadership during the pandemic, “I have never worn a mask. I I was on the front line. People’s rights – this group formed because no one was listening to us.”

Differences between candidates

Stuart and DeBone were asked what sets them apart from the other contestant.I’m a lion,” Stuart said, “I don’t know what Tony is, but I know he’s not a lion. Right now our county needs leadership – leadership that will act. Commissioner DeBone replied: I feel like my opponent is addressing a small portion of the community on every topic he talks about. I have experience and I know that I represent everyone.”

The winner of the Republican nomination on May 17 will face Oliver Tatom in the November election. Tatom is the only Democrat running for the first Deschutes County Commissionership. Click HERE to watch Tuesday’s forum and others hosted by the League of Women Voters of Deschutes County.

Photo: (top right) Moderator Gerry O’Brien, newsletter editor; (bottom left) Challenger Scott Stuart; (bottom right) Outgoing Commissioner Tony DeBone