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State representative debate

State representative Caddy McKeown participates in a debate with her opponent in the November election, Terri Grier, at the Mill Hotel-Casino on Wednesday, Oct. 10.

NORTH BEND — Oregon’s District 9 candidates for state representative, Caddy McKeown and Teri Grier, met for a debate at The Mill Casino-Hotel on Wednesday afternoon.

As the election approaches, Terri Grier participates in a debate against her opponent and incumbent Caddy McKeown in the race for District 9 S…

The debate was presented by the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce and moderated by Clark Walworth, the communications officer of the Coquille Tribe.

Candidates were asked during the debate what the role they felt manufacturing would play in Coos County’s future.

Grier’s response turned a focus toward education. Grier said that schools in the area need to provide greater opportunity for students to learn trades so that students who are adept at manufacturing trades can find work in the community.

“One of the things we have to do is have trained people that they can hire," she told the crowd. "We are not teaching to the different types of personalities that we’re working with. We have some people who work really well with their hands."

McKeown spoke briefly about the Jordan Cove LNG project as a means for creating more manufacturing jobs in the county, and then discussed how manufacturing communities are valuable.

“I don’t want to lose sight of the fact that we still have sawmills here," McKeown said. "We have opportunities to provide really good family wage jobs for folks. Unfortunately, we have a rather limited lumber supply. I think there are ways to address that and keep our folks working here."

Later in the debate, the candidates were asked what activities they have been involved in to support business on the southern Oregon coast.

Grier spoke about her background working on federal business legislature that she claims has affected the South Coast, as well as the rest of the country.

“I spent eight years in D.C., and I spent three of them on the hill working for a rural congressman," she said. "The rest of that time I spent working for an issue advocacy firm that represented eight of the fortune 20 companies. I’ve worked on national issues that impact us on a daily basis that includes cap and trade, net neutrality, and many other things."

McKeown spoke more to her local involvement with community business owners. She cited that she is a member of the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce and has worked as port commissioner.

“I sat as Port Commissioner for nine years fighting for this community," KcKeown said. "I think the thing I want to draw attention to is my involvement as the vice chair of the Joint Transportation Committee that spent four years in a bipartisan fashion crafting the largest transportation package this state has ever seen."

McKeown gave her closing statement first, as she had opened the debate. In her statement, she explained her intent to revitalize industry on the South Coast.

“I’m here because I’ve watched the decline of our industries, and the impact it’s had on our communities, so I’ve gotten involved in economic development whenever I can," she said. "I’m here because I understand the value of career and technical education training and fight for it every day. I’m much more concerned about voting for this district than I am about voting for or against a party."

In her closing statement, Grier chose to speak directly to voters who want to see change in Salem.

“If you’re happy with our governor and you’re happy with what the legislature's doing, please don’t vote for me because you won’t be happy with me," she said. "If you’re not happy, if your businesses are hurting, if the policies over the last three years have negatively impacted you, then I’m asking for your vote."

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Nicholas A. Johnson can be reached at 541-266-6049, or by email at nicholas.johnson@theworldlink.com.

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