Jeff Golden

Golden runs for Senate

Former Jackson County Commissioner Jeff Golden is the second Democrat to announce his candidacy for Senate District 3, currently held by Republican Alan DeBoer.

"I'm really unhappy with the country's political direction," the 67-year-old Ashland resident said.

Golden and Medford Councilor Kevin Stine, who announced earlier, will both run in the Democratic primary next May.

Golden thinks Oregon, where he's lived for 45 years, can do more on an issue that he considers of major importance to the world and to this state.

"We're not leading on the climate debate," he said.

California, Washington and British Columbia have been out front on this issue, and Oregon should as well, Golden said.

He said he's a supporter of a proposed Oregon clean energy jobs bill as long as it holds the oil industry accountable for its carbon footprint while making sure it doesn't impact the working poor.

"We shouldn't be subsidizing the oil industry," Golden said.

The Legislature is expected to consider the jobs bill in 2018, which could generate $700 million in annual revenue so Oregon communities become more resilient against climate change, and to develop projects that are energy efficient.

A county commissioner from 1987-91, Golden left office to run for Senate District 3, losing to Lenn Hannon.

The Senate district encompasses Medford, Phoenix, Talent, Ashland, Jacksonville and part of the Applegate Valley.

In 2010, Golden made another bid for Jackson County commissioner, losing to Don Skundrick.

Golden hosted "The Jefferson Exchange," a daily public radio talk show, from 1998-2007 and in 2011 created the weekly Southern Oregon Public Television series "Immense Possibilities."

His wife is behavioral health administrator Sarah Collard, and he spends considerable time on the Rogue River with son Daniel, 34, and daughter Sarah Beth, 32.

In addition to climate change, Golden said he's particularly concerned about health care in Oregon as well as economic fairness and affordable housing.

Both Oregon and Vermont are often cited as models for their health care systems, he said.

Golden said this state needs to do more to make sure all residents are covered by health care, but Oregon also needs to prepare in case the federal government cuts funds for health care to this state.

He said he did a documentary several years ago on coordinated care organizations, which are set up throughout the state to help coordinate care for patients under the Oregon Health Plan.

An elderly man on assistance had been rushed to the emergency room several times one summer suffering from heat stroke. A care worker helped get the man a $500 air conditioner and that ended the emergency room visits, Golden said.

"Our health-care system is way more siloed than it should be," he said.

Affordable housing is an issue the Legislature needs to tackle, Golden said.

"Finding rentals is a huge crisis," he said. "People working for $10 an hour need a place to live."

He said he would like the state to curb jacking up rental prices for those on fixed incomes or low incomes, though he concedes there would be a lot of resistance from landlords.

Golden said he wants more focused support of locally owned businesses, a strengthening of the community college system and increased vocational education. He said he supports restructuring the tax system to be more favorable to working Oregonians.

Fellow Ashlander DeBoer hasn't decided whether he'll seek another term.

"I anticipate I'll be making that decision in early January," DeBoer said.

Stine said he didn't think Golden's political track record makes him a very viable candidate.

"Voting for Golden in a Democratic primary is a good way to ensure DeBoer is in office for four more years," Stine said.

— Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or Follow him on

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