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Tobias Read talks run for governor, bipartisanship and vision for Oregon

State Treasurer Tobias Read is vying for the Democratic nomination. He sat down with KGW reporter Pat Dooris for a one-on-one interview.

PORTLAND, Ore. — The primary for the Oregon governor's race is May 17, almost six months away, and more than two dozen candidates have announced they're running for election.

State Treasurer Tobias Read is one of many candidates vying for the Democratic nomination. He recently sat down with KGW reporter Pat Dooris for a one-on-one interview and discussed why he wants to be Oregon's governor. 

"I think we need steady leadership in Oregon to get past this pandemic and get us on the trajectory that we want to be on," Read said, when asked why he wants to be governor. "Of course, that requires getting as many people vaccinated as possible and removing that as a barrier."

Read said he has a simple way of measuring progress.

"I want us to look at how our kids are doing. I feel like right now, there are too many kids who are going to sleep hungry who are dropping out of school, who think that there isn't any opportunity left for them, and that does not bode well for our future. So I think that steady leadership that can articulate a vision for Oregon that's based on making sure every kid has access to pre-kindergarten, a smart and effective longer school year, access to apprenticeships and vocational training and an environment that has us on offense with respect to climate change and investing in clean energy, so we can create jobs and be more resilient and protect this place," said Read. 

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While Read has experience in state government — he's been state treasurer since 2017 and served in the state legislature for 10 years — he doesn't have as much name recognition as some of the other candidates. Asked how he'd change that, Read said he's focusing more on his vision for the future. 

"I'm not going to be the flashiest person in most rooms, but I'm okay with that. I think the voters can see authenticity and people who are trying to be someone they're not," he said. 

Oregon has deep political divisions between Democratic urban areas and much more conservative rural areas. Republicans in the legislature have walked out twice in the last two years to block votes on cap-and-trade bills. Read said he'd combat those boycotts by reaching out to Oregonians in all parts of the state.

"I think it starts by showing up in other parts of the state. I was raised in Idaho, so I've spent a lot of time going across the state, and I think being willing to go to a community with the humility of saying, 'I don't know everything about your community, tell me about it. Let me into your head and understand your concerns and anxieties and hopes.' I think when someone leaves the chamber like that, we have to look in the mirror to some extent and try to understand what has created the circumstance where they feel like that's their only option."

You can watch the full interview with Tobias Read on YouTube:

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