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House District 6 candidates, from left, Michelle Blum Atkinson, Rick Schreffler, Kim Wallan

2018 PRIMARY House District 6: Blum Atkinson, Schreffler, Wallan

Here are the responses of Oregon House District 6 candidates to a Mail Tribune questionnaire about their leadership styles and priorities if elected. Ballots for the May 15 primary will be mailed Friday and must be returned by 8 p.m. Election Day. The winner in the general election will succeed Rep. Sal Esquivel, who decided not to run for re-election.

DEMOCRATS

Michelle Blum Atkinson

Age: 32

Residence: Medford

Occupation: Nonprofit leadership; businesswoman

Education: Bachelor of Science in Journalism and Communications, University of Oregon; South Medford High School grad

Political experience: Co-founder, Libraries for All Political Action Committee; Jackson County Library Advisory Committee; School Board officer, Kids Unlimited Academy; elected Precinct Committee person

How would you describe your leadership style?

I’m a problem-solver with a focus on helping people succeed. We are all in this together, and I encourage everyone to roll up their sleeves.

What are your top two priorities if elected?

Improving education: Students of all ages deserve access to high-quality education, whether they are in preschool, K-12, community college, university or career technical programs. Our economy relies on a skilled and knowledgeable workforce. It is a well-rounded educational system that will lead to a brighter future for us all.

Solving the housing shortage: Housing prices have skyrocketed and are out of reach for many locals. Families, kids, veterans and people who are mentally ill are being left out in the cold. Let’s work together and help solve the housing shortage that is affecting so many people in Southern Oregon.

Rick Schreffler

Age: 41

Residence: Medford

Occupation: Resource reclamation broker / parent / Navy veteran

Education: College

Political experience: Rogue Valley Transportation District board (2007-11). Also ran for Jackson County clerk.

How would you describe your leadership style?

Unlike problem-solvers, who are only reactionary, I try to anticipate the problem and prevent it. I’m a proactive collaborator, setting the trajectory which others follow.

What are your top two priorities if elected?

Currently I’m drafting a housing proposal, so after I’m elected, I can hit the beach running. It’ll revitalize our neglected neighborhoods, rehabilitate older houses, convert surplus government land to homes, and help our families and friends to stay in their apartments. An added benefit will be living-wage careers.

As a parent of children who are in local programs, education is vitally important to me, and always has been. If we’re going to welcome and foster good-paying jobs in our state, we must address training from a holistic approach, starting at birth.

REPUBLICAN

Kim Wallan (unopposed in primary)

Age: 57

Residence: Medford

Occupation: Online instructor

Education: Doctor of Jurisprudence, Willamette University College of Law; Bachelor’s of Science in Political Science, Willamette University; Henley High School grad

Political experience: Medford School Board, 2011-15; SOREDI board; Hospital Facilities Authority; Rogue Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization; Medford City Council, 2016-present; current president of Medford Urban Renewal Agency board

How would you describe your leadership style?

I am open, transparent and collaborative. I have a proven record of building relationships to lead socially and politically diverse groups to mutually beneficial solutions.

What are your top two priorities if elected?

Our unsustainable PERS system has become severe enough that it is receiving national attention. We have options for reforming PERS according to Supreme Court rulings and sound financial principles. I will not shy away from restructuring PERS to secure our futures and those of our active and retired public servants.

I will fight to improve the quality of our public schools so Medford graduates can secure meaningful employment. Measure 98 funds voters passed must actually go to programs for career/technical education. This will not only increase graduation rates but also support our building industry and help alleviate our housing shortage.

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