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On Sunday, we spoke with Jamie McLeod-Skinner, the challenger for the Democratic ticket to incumbent Kurt Schrader.

County Democrats mull new rules to endorse McLeod-Skinner in Congressional primary
Supporters described the move as a response to national Democrats putting a thumb on the scale for U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader

But the boundaries of Oregon’s 5th Congressional District shifted last year, and many Democratic voters will encounter Schrader’s name on a ballot for the first time in May.

“To us, he’s not an incumbent and the fact that we have the 800-pound gorilla from Washington coming in and weighing in in our primary spurred some of us to say, ‘You know what, we need Deschutes County Democrat voices heard, not just Washington, D.C., Democrat voices heard,’” Snyder said.

In a move that bucks party tradition, proposals are alive in at least two Oregon counties to back a candidate in the primary instead of staying neutral. Such an early endorsement, especially against a sitting Congressman, is a sign of growing frustrations with Washington politics and efforts to control local choices.

McLeod-Skinner is an attorney, emergency recovery specialist, and small business owner. She sits on the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board and is an elected member of the Jefferson County Education Service District Board. Last year, she led wildfire recovery in Talent, which lost one-third of its homes and businesses to a devastating wildfire, securing millions of dollars in aid and housing.

“To my fellow Oregonians in the new 5th Congressional District, I offer you my values and my hands-on experience,” she said, “in addressing the challenges of our time to lead us toward the promise of our future.”

“Oregon’s working families are proud. We don’t expect the government to do everything, but we’d like a little help during the tough times,” McLeod-Skinner said. “That’s why investments in affordable housing and health care childcare, paid family leave and debt-free community college are important because that’s how we help empower families to rebuild their communities.”

McLeod-Skinner thanked Gamba and said she would work to increase aid for housing, health care and other issues that both said Schrader has undercut in opposing parts of President Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan.