CANBY, Ore. — At a small campaign office in Canby, Christine Drazan held her first news conference as the Republican nominee for Governor.
“I am ready to lead our state to a stronger position and higher quality of life for all Oregonians, and I am excited to begin that race today,” Drazan said during her opening remarks.
And after the short speech, the press asked some questions. During that time, Drazan explained her plans to address the state's twin crises of homelessness and addiction.
The Republican noted Oregon’s history of being worst in the nation for addiction levels and access to treatment support.
“And the way to resolve that, the way to turn that around is to make it a priority … you take responsibility, you stand up and say, 'we will not see change on this issue unless someone chooses to lead,'” said the former state legislator, who served as House Minority Leader from 2019 to 2021.
Drazan said that, as Governor, she would declare a statewide emergency and get leaders to work together to get help to more of those who need it.
She said she would also call for the legislature to repeal voter-approved Measure 110 , now law, which reduces penalties for personal drug possession and puts savings on enforcement towards treatment and recovery.
And when it comes to the often connected issue of homelessness, the Republican nominee said that what's been happening under liberal policies is not working and she'd make it "less comfortable" to live long-term on the streets.
“The truth of it for our communities is that option to just say, 'it's possible for me to choose to live on the street and take as much fentanyl as I can every day' — that's not healthy for them, that's not healthy for our communities,” Drazan said.
Moving on to the pandemic and a new uptick in cases, Drazan said she would follow the science and the advice of health experts. But when it comes to masking and other measures, she opts for recommendations over regulations.
“Oregonians have been through this now, we understand how to keep ourselves and our families safe," Drazan said. "And I believe with information, Oregonians will make decisions to keep themselves, their customers and their clients safe.”
As former House Minority Leader, Drazan was responsible for trying to bring a wide array of Republicans together. Now she will have to do the same in this race for governor.
That's a big task when you consider that Drazan was one of 19 Republican candidates in the primary. As of the latest tally, she won with about 23% of the vote. But Drazan said she sees that as a good thing.
“Republicans across the state raised all their hands and said 'I want to be a part of change,' and the great thing about this process that we've all experienced is that we have more in common than our differences."
Drazan appreciates the historic nature of the race, running against two other women. But she will need to win over voters from her competition to succeed in historically blue Oregon.