Interview: League of Women Voters interviews David Molina and why he’s running

10 minute read

Forum: Washington County Public Affairs Forum Debate, McLain vs Molina


BEAVERTON, Ore. – Today, David Molina of Forest Grove sat down with the League of Women Voters on Tualatin Valley Community TV to share his motivation for running for office. David is running for House District 29 which encompasses Forest Grove, Cornelius and West Hillsboro. As always, transcript is below.


Interviewer: Hi, I’m Judi Umaki, with the League of Women Voters. The league is a non-partisan organization that has provided voters with non-biased election information since 1920. We’ve invited candidates to talk with us so you can learn more about them. Joining us now is David Molina, candidate for House district 29. Welcome, David.

David Molina: Thanks Judy for the invitation. Pleasure to be here.

Interviewer: Tell me a little bit about your district and why you are running.

David Molina: So District 29 encompasses Forest Grove, Cornelius, and parts of West Hillsboro, downtown, and it cuts on the north side of Baseline, where Dairy Queen is, so Dairy Queen is sort of the last stop in the District. So Forest Grove Hills all the way down to Dairy Queen.

Interviewer: Good, and why have you chosen to run?

David Molina: Well I wanted to run for District 29, it’s actually crazy. I was actually planning on running for the school board. And when I started to approach individuals about the school board, from fixing the school nutritional lunches to why lunches are not nutritional and why our children are throwing food away, and class ratio is too high, I don’t think the students are going to be learning in a 1 to 42 kind of class ratio. Once I started inquiring about those things, I come to find out that the issue isn’t teachers doing a bad job, or the students, or the parents, the issue is the management in Salem. A lot of the money that is supposed to be going to our classrooms is instead going to wasteful spending, going to government, it’s not going to classrooms, and the more I looked into it the more I thought, “Is that why potholes aren’t being fixed?” And the more I learned about it, the more I was convinced to run for State Rep., that would be better suited for me personally and professionally, and more importantly, that is where the problems would be fixed.

Interviewer: Do you feel that there are areas where additional oversight is needed to prevent wasteful spending you’re talking about, and if so, which agencies or program budgets could you see being cut or reduced?

David Molina: I would like to see the secretary of state’s office being improved, especially with the great leadership under Secretary Richardson, the audits that he’s done, and the funding and the mismanagement and the funding being wasted, and dollars disappearing, right. I would like to see that part. You know in the military, I served in the military for over a decade both enlisted and officer and whenever you saw any mismanagement, or anything like that you took it up the chain of command, and often what would happen, is if a soldier, a colonel, didn’t feel comfortable, you can actually request the inspector general to come in, you know very non-partisan, very objective, to come in, do inquiries and interview people. And now you know there’s someone in trouble, it’s not that you’re in trouble but you got someone coming in at a much higher level of the food chain to come in to fix this problem, to find out what really the problem is, to sift through the weeds. I find it incredibly odd that we don’t have something like that in Oregon, that could come in and hold people accountable.

I think on the bigger picture to improve wasteful spending is to implement term limits. What happens is when you elect the same people, people being in office for 20 years, what happens is when you’re in office, for even a couple terms, you get entrenched by and overwhelmed by special interests, who roam the halls of the capitol. A gentleman who was just interviewed in the local paper, was asked, “What would people do if they found out what really happened in the halls of Salem?” He said, “If people really knew what happens in the halls of Salem, the people would burn that building down.” So I find that that would be a solution to implement term limits. We have to make sure that people are not in office for much more than four to five years. And then they go back to the private sector, go back to farming, go back to contracting, go back to teaching, go back to whatever they were doing professionally. Because when you’re there for that long, you’re going to be overwhelmed by these special interests, and they’re going to want you to pork-barrel, and fund their projects, and fund their things, and what happens is this is a cost to the people, We The People. We’re the ones getting short-changed here, because the money isn’t coming out of their pockets, because they’re well off, the money is coming out of the working-class, it’s coming out of us.

Interviewer: Okay, tax reform is a sort of perennial topic in Oregon. What kind of tax reform ideas would you support? Kicker reform, limited sales tax, tax credit eliminations, recommendations from the PERS task force?

David Molina: I think all of them have a little bit of good ideas, but some of these just seem like a feel good grenade, right, like what we say in the military. Once you pass it, there are third, fourth order effects, that have repercussions. Right now we’re discussing grocery taxes, and taxing people. But what happens is if you tax a beverage 89 cents more, a dollar more, what happens is a guy that relies on a $5 lunch a day, he can’t afford the 3 item lunch that he was used to shopping for. And the same thing goes for a family of 5, you know they can’t afford it. I think at the end of the day that when I talk to people in 29, both elderly and retirees, what I find is the common denominator of everyone in 29, I don’t know about everyone else, but in 29, Forest Grove to that Dairy Queen, is that people feel that they are taxed enough, they are taxed enough already. That seems to be the common denominator.

And from personal experience, I believe that that is accurate. You have federal taxes, you have DMV taxes, you have property taxes, you have county taxes. So In my view I don’t believe that we actually need to increase taxes, we need to cut taxes expeditiously, on a rapid decline in order to ensure that people can actually survive. What do I tell elderly folks or retirees when they’ve lost their loved ones and, they’re in their 70s and 80s, and they tell me in 6 years, they’ve already done the math, they won’t be able to afford property taxes. The government is going to come in and take their home. I don’t believe that that is fair.

We have to make sure that we lower taxes, and the personal income tax is one that I’m really passionate about. Right now it’s way too high. It needs to come down to 0 to 4.5%, very much. Anybody who makes under $150,000 should be down to 0% personal income tax, maybe 0.5% income tax, something very nominal. And as you make more, maybe a little more, maybe 4.5%. But I think somewhere in that range, it needs to be cut in half, so that people can actually afford to keep more in their pocket, and elderly and retirees can stay in their home. So young people can start their families off sooner.

I meet a lot of young people whose biggest worry is that they can’t afford college, university. It used to be that you can afford college, and now it’s a 3,000% increase over the last two decades, and it’s just ridiculous people can’t afford it. I met a student whose tuition went from $30k to $60k in the same year. And those are things to me that just break my heart. And not everyone is going to join the military for universal healthcare, for free education. I get that, not everybody has that mental capacity, that physical stamina. I get that. So we need to find solutions, and I believe that bringing taxes down is the way to go. We need to actually cut state government down to a level that is manageable, we take care who is most needy, we take care of transportation, and we outsource as much as we can. I think we’re getting to a point where people can’t afford it anymore and people are going to be kicked out of their homes and they are being kicked out of their homes because we’re taxing them.

Interviewer: Oregon ranks 48th in the nation in its high school graduation rates. What specific recommendations would you push for to improve this rate? And what are your thoughts on mandating a 180 day school year as many other states do? More technical and vocational training at the high school levels?

David Molina: First of all we need Pre-K. We need Pre-K all the way around. We need to make sure that children are starting earlier. I was lucky as a young kid, as a migrant farmworker in the fields, I got a head start. I believe I got a head start in my education by those wonderful teachers in those buses that picked us up at the camp. We learned how to read, how to write, how to do math. And I was very motivated. By the time I hit kindergarten, I was very motivated, I was always raising my hand (I remember my teacher later telling me as I visited those schools as a college student). So I think that is very very important, we need to start with the Pre-K.

Beyond that I think we need to stop at the high school level, around 9th, 10th grade, and give students and parents an option, so if they want to continue with high school and college studies, then that’s great. We need those students in those classes, let them continue to stay in those classes, that would help in terms of class student ratio, you would have 15:1 in terms of class ratio in an English class, for example, someone doing debate or math. But you have those students in the 9th, 10th grade, who want to work in the work force, who want to get their GED early, and get a head start on their careers, who want to do welding, plumbing, or get their certification in welding, and they want to do that, early on they can do that. They can go on and be heavy equipment operators, they can be self-taught and learn coding and software development, which is some of what I do. If they want to start their business, or join the family business in landscaping and construction, or at the grocery store, they can do that as a young person. I think when we start looking at that, we can save dollars, redirect dollars to those students, and their families, and they can invest that money in themselves in professional development, in their certifications, and get going in their careers a lot earlier. I think this is going to be a win-win, when we start doing something like that where we start folks, young men and women in careers earlier. Not just in vocational training, but nonvocational training, they just want to get their GED, and they want to enter the work force. I know many people that are self-taught and self made. They didn’t go to college, they didn’t do vocational training, they’re just self taught. They went and worked in the family business, worked for their parents who are lawyers. You see that in many parts of the country, where they apprentice for their parents, and later go on and take the bar exam. So I think we need to look at all those options, I think it will relieve some of the congestion that we’re seeing in the schools, some of that worry and stress. At the end of the day, education has to start earlier.

Interviewer: Thanks so much for taking the time to come in and talk with us David, and best of luck to you.

David Molina: Absolutely, thanks Judy for the opportunity.

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