Redmond Realtor and city Planning Commission member Jack Zika announced Tuesday his candidacy for the Oregon House District 53 seat being vacated by fellow Republican Gene Whisnant of Sunriver.
Zika is the first person to file for the seat held by Whisnant, who announced Monday that he won't seek another term.
Zika, 40, will seek the Republican nomination in the May primary election and said he hopes to earn the support of HD 53 residents in the November general election. He cited education, access to affordable housing and the need for fiscal responsibility as his top priorities as a candidate.
“Central Oregon is a great place to put down roots and raise a family,” Zika said in a news release announcing his candidacy.
“However, I’ve grown increasingly frustrated with a state government that seems oblivious to our needs in Central Oregon. As a Redmond planning commissioner, a Realtor and a father to two children, I see every day how the high cost of living impacts residents.
"The answer is not higher taxes and more regulations that drive up the cost of housing. I’m running for state representative to be an advocate for fully funding our schools, reining in runaway government spending and finally restoring some common sense to our state’s land use laws. It’s my hope that with the support of our community, I can go to Salem and deliver positive change for Central Oregonians.”
As a real estate broker serving clients throughout Central Oregon, Zika said he is very engaged in housing issues locally and across the state. He serves on the Redmond Planning Commission and Neighborhood Revitalization Committee, as well as the Board of Directors for the Oregon Association of Realtors, and is a member of the association’s government affairs committee. Jack was also recently elected to as the first vice president for Central Oregon Association of Realtors.
“Access to affordable housing is one of the most important issues we face in Central Oregon,” Zika said. “The prices for housing have skyrocketed in recent years. At this rate, our children are not going to be able to afford to live here.
"As a Realtor and planning commissioner, I understand our housing crisis and am committed to advocating for solutions that will alleviate it. We need leaders who will address the pressures of rising housing costs and stagnating incomes head=on so we can ensure that our community remains a great place to raise a family.”
Zika said he is also very engaged with local community nonprofits and volunteer organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, Boys and Girls Club, Prineville Elks, Kiwanis, Ronald McDonald House, Deschutes County Fair, Bethlehem Inn, Project Connect, Oktoberfest, Red Cross, Heaven Can Wait and the Redmond Area Park and Recreation District. He is also the coach for a local kindergarten and first-grade soccer team.
“Representative Whisnant has been a staple of our community for more than a decade,” Zika said. “As a retired U.S. Air Force member and community-first legislator, he set the standard for what it means to be a public servant. It’s an honor to have the opportunity to earn the support of Central Oregon residents to follow in his footsteps.”
House District 53 includes the communities of Redmond, Tumalo, Sunriver and portions of Bend and unincorporated Deschutes County.