Election 2022: State House District 11 Candidates

State House District 11 Candidates


Jami Cate, 35, Republican

Residence/Family: Lifelong resident of Lebanon. Parents Jim and Ginger Cate; Siblings Jered and Chelsea Cate; niece Stella; and goddaughter Vale
Education: Bachelor’s Degree in crop and soil science, Oregon State University, Summa Cum Laude
Professional Background/Work Experience: State representative and fifth-generation Linn County farmer.
Political Experience/Affiliations: Republican state representative.
Other Community Involvement/Affiliations: 15-plus years with Lebanon Strawberry Festival, including serving as board chairperson, association treasurer; Secretary – Lebanon Museum Foundation; Treasurer/Secretary – Oregon Tall Fescue Commission; Secretary – Lebanon Community Foundation.
Contact: (503) 986-1417 or [email protected]
For More Info: jamicate.com | facebook.com/repjamicate

Mary Cooke, 57, Democrat

Residence/Family: Has lived in Lebanon for almost two years. Father was a railroad worker, mother was a schoolteacher. “I come from a large family-I have three older brothers and an older sister. I was very influenced by my oldest brother and sister, who have since passed away. They believed in me and always encouraged me by reminding me that I am capable of more than I think I am.”
Education: Bachelor’s degree in public relations from Gonzaga University in 1987.
Professional Background/Work Experience: Sales consultant for over 30 years, working with owners and managers of small businesses to help them grow their business.
Political Experience/Affiliations: Neighborhood Leader and Precinct Committee Person with the Linn County Democrats.
Other Community Involvement/Affiliations: Member of Lebanon Toastmasters, Lebanon Chamber of Commerce, Lebanon Downtown Association Arts Committee, and on the board of the Lebanon Strawberry Festival.
Contact: [email protected]
For More Info: www.maryfororegon.com or Facebook: @maryfororegon or
Instagram: @maryfororegon | www.linncodems.org.


Describe your view of the proper role of government under the U.S. and Oregon constitutions and how you, as a state representative, would carry out your responsibilities as a legislator.

Jami Cate: I believe our government is designed to work for the people – preserving our rights and freedoms granted by the Constitution, and maintaining order and safety. As State Representative, I have opposed the rampant government overreach we have been experiencing, and fought to restore the proper balance of power in Oregon. If reelected, I will continue pushing for a government that works for the people, and serving as your voice on the issues that matter most to House District 11.

Mary Cooke: I strongly believe that anyone who holds office has the responsibility to follow the law and act with integrity. As a state representative for District 11, I would serve all people regardless of which party they are affiliated with.

What do you see as the biggest challenges facing Oregon in the area of budget/state finances and what solutions would you propose to address those?

Mary Cooke: Even though Oregon has received large amounts of federal funding to rebuild after the devastation from wildfires, my concern is that because we have received such funds it will make it difficult during years when lower revenues are available. Also, what happened to the funds generated from measure 110? The money generated in part by the state’s marijuana tax revenue and state prison savings was supposed to go to a drug addiction treatment and recovery program. No such program has been initiated. The financial and budgetary issues in Oregon and my district are complex. I am committed to continuing to research the challenges and come up with solutions.

Jami Cate: Our state budget continues to expand, with taxpayers owing more and more every year. The past two years have seen “historic” revenue figures for Oregon as we receive massive allocations from the Federal government, yet new taxes keep being proposed by our Democrat supermajority. Oregonians are already struggling to adjust to hyper-inflation and an unattainable housing market. It is time for less government – not more – reducing our state spending and providing Oregonians the tax relief they deserve.

What do you see as the biggest challenges facing Oregon in the area of education and what solutions would you propose to address those?

Jami Cate: Oregon is experiencing a tremendous erosion to parental rights, especially in education. Our schools are ranked #48 in the nation, and are failing to prepare our kids for the realities of our job market. Parents wanting to engage in their students’ education and keep politics out of the classroom are being blocked from doing so by recent legislation to limit the powers of our elected school boards. We need to give parents more choice to pick the best schools for their kids, and focus on the fundamentals of education – not political ideologies.

Mary Cooke: Oregon is struggling to retain teachers and school faculty across the state right now. Students are experiencing learning loss and higher behavioral issues with fewer resources (i.e., staff) to keep up. We need to recruit more teachers and counselors and educate staff, so they have the tools to respond effectively. The Student Success Act was instrumental in helping children and families that are under-served but it was not enough. I propose that we continue to provide wage, benefit, and work incentives for teachers and school faculty. On top of high workloads, teachers face possible unsafe working conditions with the rise of school shootings. I support ballot measure 114 to improve gun safety and support continually making our schools safer for kids and staff.

What do you see as the biggest challenges facing Oregon in the area of transportation and what solutions would you propose to address those?

Mary Cooke: Like the rest of the U.S., Oregonians are paying high gas prices, which jeopardizes their ability to commute to work or travel for recreation. The lack of public transportation in rural areas is also one of the biggest barriers to employment for people with disabilities and a challenge for seniors. Like the Linn Shuttle that goes from Sweet Home to Albany, I propose expanding this rural transportation model to include more locations like Brownsville, Scio, Lacomb, etc. where transportation options are even more limited.

Jami Cate: Across our nation, our transportation infrastructure is failing and the financial resources haven’t been budgeted for replacement. Even projects that have been approved often fail to happen because of clashing ideologies when funds could be allocated for greener transportation methods. Transportation is the backbone of our economy, and we have to invest in a system that meets the actuality of our growing communities’ needs – not an ideal of what some wish those needs looked like.

What do you see as the biggest challenges facing Oregon in the area of environmental protection or lack thereof and what solutions would you propose to address those?

Jami Cate: We have a ticking time bomb in our forests after decades of failed forest management policies implemented by our federal and state governments. We all watched what can happen when the Labor Day fires of 2020 ravaged the Santiam Canyon and other regions across our state, and know too well the very real risk our forests now pose to our communities. We need to let our loggers do their jobs – reducing fuel loads and actively managing our forests. I will continue advocating for policy changes at the federal level to do just that.

Mary Cooke: Droughts and record-breaking heat waves are creating devastating wildfires that are impacting our family farms and livelihoods. We need to act now to increase resources for our rural fire districts and address the root causes creating crises in our communities. Fossil fuels are the main culprit of our ecological collapse. I will continue efforts to install more electric car charging units, which reduces the fossil fuel emissions in our environment. I support continuing efforts to switch to sustainable, cleaner energy sources.

What do you see as the biggest challenges facing Oregon in the area of support for existing businesses/economic growth? What solutions would you propose to address those?

Mary Cooke: Businesses are struggling to succeed with the increased cost of living and inflation. This is making it harder and harder to pay their employees a livable wage, which means less employees who will take entry level jobs to afford the cost of living on their end. This coupled with the cost of health insurance and childcare add barriers for workers and influence their decision to take higher paying jobs from larger employers. One solution includes employers providing non-monetary benefits such as flexible schedules and allowing workers to work from home to save on childcare. Universal childcare could also be an answer. I would work to expand employer’s ability to qualify as a Public Service Loan Forgiveness Employer to provide an incentive for employees with secondary education. I will be dedicated to finding solutions like the Work Opportunity Tax Credit that make it a win-win for employers and employees in today’s labor market.

Jami Cate: When have we ever seen this many “Hiring Now” signs? Never. Our businesses are lacking the workforce they need to even maintain their status quo, let alone lead the full-force economic recovery Oregon needs after COVID lockdowns. And yet our State Government is picking winners and losers for which industries receive support in stealing workers from other struggling sectors, leaving them even more shorthanded. We need to focus our efforts on getting folks back to work – prioritizing the essential industries that keep our communities functioning, before investing in creating more jobs in pet-project sectors catering to Portland.

In addition to any of the issues already touched on, what do you consider the most important issue(s)/challenge(s) facing Oregon? If elected, how would you address it/those?

Jami Cate: Oregon is experiencing an utter leadership failure under one-party dominance. We are routinely making national headlines for all the wrong reasons. Out of control crime in Portland, protecting tent cities, legalizing hard drugs, removal of graduation standards in our already failing schools, soaring housing prices making Oregon the fifth most expensive state to live, and unworkable plans to tackle the addiction and mental health crises. More of the same is not the answer. We need real solutions that come from having differing ideologies at the table and requiring compromise. Elections matter, and balancing the numbers in our Legislature has never been more important, but so is the need for the silent majority to no longer be silent. I will always encourage constituents to engage in the legislative process because their voice is what drives accountability from every level of government to address the critical needs of our people.

Mary Cooke: Affordable housing and homelessness are one of the top issues in Oregon across the board. A one-bedroom apartment goes for $1200-$1400 a/mo. This is outrageous! One tangible solution is to continue to provide tax incentives to developers to build low income and high-density housing. As far as homelessness, Sweet Home has built 30 pods to house the homeless. I don’t see why we can’t use this format as a model to build similar housing in other places in HD11. More shelters will be needed as well. Through my research and talking with experts in the field I learned that 50-80% of the homeless population have a traumatic brain injury. This could happen to any of us. Granted, mental health and addiction play a significant role in this difficult situation. That is why we need more social services that address mental health and addiction. The housing crises and homelessness issue is a complicated one. I am committed to learning more about the different aspects of these issues from experts and to solve this overwhelming problem.

In addition to any of the issues already touched on, what are the biggest issues you see facing rural Oregon and, particularly, the residents of the 11th District?

Mary Cooke: By talking with farmers and citizens in our rural areas, I have learned about their concerns of the industrialized agricultural operations (CAFOs) that are proposed to come into the Scio, Jefferson, and Aumsville area, near our waterways (1,450 feet). These industrialized chicken ‘factories’ will pollute our air and water. Millions of chickens mean tons of poultry manure which contains ammonia gas. Manure runoff into our creeks and rivers through heavy rainfall and/or flooding is inevitable. Water pollution including nitrates and bacteria could easily contaminate wells. It takes millions of gallons of water to grow this number of chickens and poses a threat to an already limited water supply. I am deeply concerned for the health and wellbeing of the family farmers and the people that live nearby. Oregon lacks laws to protect our air and water from these giant animal factories. I will work to create laws that hold large factory farms accountable with regulations that keep our air and water clean.

Jami Cate: Oregon is far more than just Portland, and one-size-fits-all legislation doesn’t work. We routinely see Portland-centric legislation passed because it is the biggest voting base for the party in power – leaving the rest of Oregon’s needs kicked to the curb. We need to bring balance back to our state government so the voice of all Oregonians can be heard when making legislation. I am fighting hard to support candidates across our state to win balance back and restore a government that works for the people rather than one-party rule loyal to the Portland-Metro.

There are two candidates in this race. What most distinguishes you from your opponent? Why should voters consider electing you as District 11 State Representative?

Jami Cate: Did not respond.

Mary Cooke: I support the regulation of large industrialized agricultural operations. There needs to be zoning laws that protect the farmland and watersheds we all depend on. My opponent has expressed that she sees these large meat processors as no threat to our community. The harmful effects are of no concern to her.
I am pro-choice. Since the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court, we need a strong state legislator to protect the rights of women. No one should be forced to give birth, especially in cases of rape, incest or when a person’s life is at risk.