JUNCTION CITY, Ore. — House District Seat 14 candidates Val Hoyle and Dwight Coon are trying to set the record straight regarding a campaign controversy. Now Governor John Kitzhaber is weighing in.
The position they’re running for represents Junction City, Harrisburg and west Eugene.
Coon is the Republican candidate and the former Junction City mayor. Democrat incumbent Val Hoyle was first appointed to the Oregon Legislature in 2009 and elected in 2010.
This week, the campaign hit controversy. A pamphlet sent to voters by Coon states that he, not Hoyle, was responsible for moving forward a state mental hospital in Junction City.
Junction City began planning the hospital back in 2005. Infrastructure, including roads, lighting, water and sewer completed by fall of 2011. A majority of the progress was made while Coon was mayor.
“This was a project dealt with and moved forward by Junction City,” Coon said.
In a press conference Thursday, Coon said Hoyle never attended a single city council meeting.
Governor Kitzhaber and Congressman Peter DeFazio have thrown their support behind Hoyle.
In a letter to House District 14 voters, the governor wrote: “Val has worked closely with me on this project and has never wavered on fighting to get it done, always with an eye on the bottom line.”
“Governor Kitzhaber wants to have a majority in the House and he’s afraid of losing that so of course, he’s going to support Val Hoyle,” Coon said.
The proposed hospital, which could provide hundreds of jobs, still needs funding and bipartisan support for completion. It could be brought to the legislature in 2013. Junction City resident Ellie Dumdi that’s the objective. She says she knows both candidates and is disappointed in the campaign.
“It has taken on an, ‘I did this and I did that.’ It should be a cooperative effort. We shouldn’t be pointing fingers at each other. This is an important to get the psychiatric hospital located in Juction City area,” Dumdi said.
Candidates are vying for all 60 representative seats in the Oregon legislature. Eight incumbents are not seeking re-election, six of which are Democrats and two are Republican.