Photo of Ted CaseThe question isn’t who is running for governor of Oregon. The question is, “Who isn’t?”

And why not? It’s the first time in 12 years Oregon has an open gubernatorial seat, and more than 40 candidates are taking advantage of this rare opportunity.

Oregon’s electric cooperative leaders are taking advantage of this opportunity, too. None of them is running—last time I checked—but we decided this year the issues are far too serious to watch this election from the bench.

For the past few months, the Oregon Rural Electric Cooperative Association has embarked on an ambitious virtual gubernatorial candidate series with the top contenders for governor—Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. The amazing turnout from Oregon’s electric cooperative leaders has been noted by each candidate.

We’ve had excellent conversations about the candidates’ top priorities as well as ours: protecting the federal hydropower system, electric vehicles, and bridging the rural-urban divide. We have learned something from each of the candidates and hope they have learned something from us.

We don’t want the conversation to end there. We have invited candidates to visit us in rural and frontier Oregon to learn more. Talking on Zoom is one thing, but there is nothing like visiting the wide expanse of Harney County, timber towns in Douglas County, and the rugged landscape of the South Coast to learn about the “other Oregon.”

These are places far from the center of power in this state and are often overlooked. But they are places where Oregonians still matter. Actually showing up there matters a whole lot.

Ted Case
Executive Director