KMTR Eugene: 'I can now be loyal only to Oregonians': Betsy Johnson runs unaffiliated for governor
“This daughter of Oregon won’t let this state decline further without a hell of a fight.”
Former state senator Betsy Johnson is running for Oregon governor as a non-affiliated candidate.
We sat down with her to learn more about her campaign.
Johnson has been a Democratic member of the state legislature since 2001, first as representative and most recently as a senator for the 16th District.
She resigned form that seat in December to focus on her run for governor.
Here's why she says this run is without a political affiliation.
"I’ve had a front row seat for the last two decades to watching a state that I love deteriorate," she tells us.
Johnson is not shy about voicing her criticisms of current state leadership.
"I am not, as a native daughter of this place, going to let it decline any further without one hell of a fight," she says.
That's why she's running as a non-affiliated candidate.
She previously ran for the legislature as a Democrat. Have her views changed?
"No,” she says. “My views have not changed. I still have my core values and those don’t change. I would describe myself as fiscally more conservative; socially very moderate, more to liberal."
Johnson says Oregon has a plethora of problems, including the state's largest city.
"Oregon cannot succeed if Portland fails, and Portland is in the process of failing right now."
She says Portland is becoming unlivable due to homelessness.
"It has to be law enforcement; it has to be mental health services; it has to be addiction services. None can work without the other."
Johnson is a big supporter of both CAHOOTS-like programs and police.
"I also am an unapologetic defender of the police,” she tells us. “I would never demonize or defund the police."
But she’s not a fan of mask or vaccine mandates.
"I’m fully vaccinated and boosted. I made that decision. I did not make it as a result of a mandate."
Johnson is pledging to create jobs, champion rural communities and address climate change, despite, she says, previously being labelled a climate denier.
"I believe climate change is real. I believe some of the solutions put forth by the legislature are not the right solutions to the right problems."
The veteran lawmaker is shedding her political affiliation and taking on the race for Oregon's top seat.
"I can now be loyal only - and fully - to Oregonians."
Because Johnson is running non-affiliated, she won't be on the primary ballot in May. Instead, she'll have to qualify for the general election by collecting 24,000 signatures from Oregonians.