Deschutes Co. Commission candidates face off

Unger, Greene discuss right-to-work law, experience

Few sparks fly at commissioner forum

BEND, Ore. - The two candidates for Deschutes County commissioner were asking for your vote at a forum Tuesday.

No sparks flew and no controversial topics were discussed at the forum, but the  commissioner race is still one to watch for this election year.

Watching the forum, you would think the two candidates agree on just about everything.

But like any contested election, the candidates do have some differences.

The two candidates Democrat incumbent Alan Unger and Republican challenger Tom Greene approach things a lot alike.

"We need to find jobs and grow new jobs," Unger said.

"Alan and I do agree on job creation," Greene said. "Like every other politician in this election cycle is talking about, jobs is the No. 1 priority."

Greene, a real estate agent and Bend city councilor, has supported making Oregon a right-to-work state. That law allows employees to make the decision of whether they should join a union.

"Oregon needs to" make the move, Greene said, adding that "23 states have it. It's a stumbling block -- businesses look at that."

Unger, who is seeking re-election, approaches the topic differently.

"Right to work -- that's really not something we really want to deal with here," Unger said. "But it's one of those Republican things that comes out, and that's fine."

Greene has accused Unger of taking too long to come to decisions, something that he says will help get him elected.

"It's just the way I think more on how we are going to approach things," Greene said. "I think I'm a little more direct and know the questions to ask."

Unger, on the other hand, says it's his experience that will get him re-elected.

"I have 20 years in (government) experience, he has four," Unger said. "I have knowledge and the experience and the networking with people. I know the right people."

Voters this November may think they see identical candidates, but for the two running, there's a clear difference.

"I'm better-equipped to handle research and make more resilient decisions faster and be on track," Greene said. "And really be a steward and shepherd of Deschutes County and the taxpayers and the tax dollars that are spent here."

"I will continue to make balanced and thoughtful decisions that represent the entire county," Unger said. "I am fiscally responsible. The county budget is balanced and we are spending the taxpayer money wisely."

The next League of Women Voters candidate forum is this Thursday at 5 p.m. at City Hall. That forum will feature the Bend City Council candidates for positions 1 and 3.

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