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Mar-30-2012 00:55printcomments

Race for the Legislature: House District 48

The top issues for Reardon are education and veterans services.

Oregon Capitol
Photo: Oregon Capitol News

(SALEM) - Portland resident Jeff Reardon was really looking forward to a peaceful retirement after his last year of teaching at David Douglas High School. But instead, the Vietnam veteran has decided to take on Rep. Mike Schaufler, D-Happy Valley, in the House District 48 Democratic primary.

Schaufler has served in the Oregon House of Representatives since 2003. Prior to that, he was on the Happy Valley City Council from 1997 to 2000.

Some press accounts over the past few months have raised questions about Schaufler’s use of campaign funds for personal expenses. Those, and other issues, helped interrupt Reardon’s initial plans and prompted his candidacy.

“That’s one of the reasons I wanted to step up to this position,” Reardon said. “A couple of us were pretty concerned about it and wanted to make sure we had a good, strong candidate against Mike. Somebody’s got to do it.”

Reardon’s candidacy has already been endorsed by Senator Rod Monroe, D-Portland, and former secretary of state Bill Bradbury. He has hired a professional campaign team, and all indications are that he is taking this race very seriously.

The top issues for Reardon are education and veterans services.

“Being a veteran, I feel that’s something I really want to be involved in,” he said.

Aside from being a teacher, Reardon has also spent 10 years as a school board member. He said that “allows me to see both sides of the issues and understand education from both perspectives.”

Reardon said that he would like to see more emphasis put on vocational programs in schools. To illustrate his point, Reardon said that David Douglas High tried to hire a metal shop teacher five years ago. The instructor was qualified to teach the subject, he added, but did not have a teaching credential.

“I would like to see them elevated to a much higher level. There needs to be greater interaction between business and the schools,” Reardon said. “We need to create a greater balance between the core subjects being emphasized now, especially with all the standardized testing, and the elective-type classes that seem to be kind of left in the dust.”

Schaufler did not return multiple attempts at seeking comment for this story. However, J.L. Wilson, a vice president of Associated Oregon Industries, praised Schaufler for his efforts in the legislature.

“There’s a prevailing sentiment that doesn’t appreciate the need to create Oregon jobs on that side of the political spectrum,” Wilson said, adding that Schaufler deviates from that and has been attacked for it.

While Schaufler is “no hero of the conservative movement,” Wilson predicted that business groups will support him, along with the private sector unions that have long been part of the incumbent’s political base.

“There should probably be more Mike Schauflers, not fewer,” Wilson said.

Special thanks to Oregon Capitol News

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