|DAVID MOLINA FOR OREGON CAMPAIGN||Wednesday, September 19, 2018|
PORTLAND, Ore. – Today, Portland-based, Willamette Weekly, an award-winning alternative media outlet interviewed Rep. Susan McLain, running for re-election, and political newcomer and outsider David Molina who’s vying to represent Forest Grove, Cornelius and West Hillsboro in the company’s Pearl District headquarters. The interview was live recorded and we will update this post when it becomes live on YouTube so you can watch the endorsement interviews. In the interim, we’ve provided an audio recording and the transcribe to give you a head start.
The 45-minute interview went into great detail the thought process behind the incumbent, Rep. Susan McLain, and political newcomer and outsider, David Molina.
Listen to the whole show for the Willamette Week interview.
Willamette Week, 9/19/2018 Interview
Interviewer: Representative, if you could give us a brief intro and tell us who you are, what your district covers, where it is, and why you’re running for reelection?
Susan McLain: My name is Susan McLain, and House District 29 covers Forest Grove, Cornelius, and some rural areas outside Forest Grove & Cornelius. I am running again as a professional teacher. I was a teacher for 42 years. One of the reasons I ran in 2014 is because I wanted to have an active teacher’s voice down in Salem. There are many things we worked on in the last 4 years but there is a lot left to do. We have a big push on education right now, a large committee going around the state right now to find out what people feel is important to support students, teachers, schools, and school district.
I serve on 5 committees, including co-chair of audit committee, the K-12 committee for education, AG and natural resources, and 2 types of transport committees, the joint transportation committee with the senate, and the chair of the policy transport committee in the House. I am also a member of the autonomous vehicle task force, which has taken on a life of its own. It’s a situation where we’re learning a lot about the automation of the technology coming this way. There’s between 21-28 companies in the State of Oregon that are working on autonomous vehicles. So that’s an area of technology and an area of transportation that we’ll be hearing a lot more of the next few years.
Interviewer: Can you tell us what you’ve done for a living what your previous work before you worked in legislature was?
Susan McLain: The majority, 90% of my working life has been being a teacher in high school, I taught 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, I taught English, speech and debate, and psychology. I basically feel that that is my profession, that is my living wage, how I payed my bills, and how I helped with my family and my kids and my husband, having a home in Forest Grove and raising them in Western Washington County. Interviewer: Can I get your age?
Susan McLain: I’m 69, a young 69
Interviewer: David, tell us about yourself
David Molina: I’m David Molina, I served in our Army for over a decade, both enlisted and officer. I was an enlistee, a private at the 364th brigade in Portland, off Terwilliger. I commissioned after 9/11, Army ROTC at Oregon State, ended up commissioning Infantry, went up to Fort Benning, the junior school for boys as it was called, although you can’t call it that now, because we had one gal who went through it, amazing, she actually went to Ranger School. But I did that, and then, I was an aide-de-camp to a General. I served at the company level, battalion staff, and ended up mobilizing twice. The first time I was headed to Iraq, and myself and about 100 others were reassigned to the eastern seaboard, and all the PAs, physician’s assistants got sent on buses to Walter and Bethesda, and me and a bunch of junior lieutenants got sent to Aberdeen Proving Ground, where I was a Summary Court Martial Officer, for personal affects of fallen and wounded comrades, and defense contractors. You could call me a grammarian, because I was responsible for making sure that what was on paper was actually spelled correctly and sent to the families. The second time I mobilized was at Dover Air Force Base, and served at the Mortuary Affairs Complex there, and was the Operations Officer there. So a total of 36 months of active duty and about 8-10 years more in the reserves.
In between there I was a small business owner, had a consultancy firm, a recruiting company, a staffing company. I was a website designer, I learned to code. I built websites for taco trucks, restaurants, and anybody that wouldn’t throw me out their front door, if you could believe that. So I would say entrepreneur. And one of those websites that I built, it was a bilingual job board, bilingualhire. My ex now has that website, she also has a Latina consultancy and conference that she does for Latinas, called ThinkMujer. I built that. Two I’m most proud of is bilingualhire, and she now runs that entirely. I was a cofounder of that, and coded that first website on Ruby on Rails.
The second that I built that actually took off was operationcode.org. which was essentially a website to petition Congress to expand the GI Bill to include vocational schools, non-accredited, short-term, accelerated learning programs that you hear about often here in Portland, across the country, and Silicon Valley, and trains them, and takes them from 0 to 16 weeks or 7 months, around there, and trains them to be software developers. So Operation Code took off, and I became executive director, took it to nonprofit, lobbied on the Hill x3 times, ended up moving some legislation forward in 2016-2017. So I did that most recently, and held my last slot there as executive director of the organization, a sort of international organization. When I started there were 0 vocational schools that accepted the GI Bill. Today there’s over 25 code schools across 18 states that accept it [New GI Bill]. Our membership on Slack is nearing 4,000 veterans, military active-duty, cyber security, reserve and guard.
Interviewer: So you said you passed the legislation?
David Molina: Yeah, we did, the legislation that we moved was called the VET TEC Act, it was essentially expanding the GI Bill. There was a lot of pushback from both sides of the aisle, Aaron, from Republicans and Democrats alike. We tried working with McCain, it was a non-starter with him, he didn’t get tech. We tried working with Kaine, even though he came from the former VP’s running mate, even though he came from tech, it was a non-starter with him too. And it wasn’t until Republicans took the house, and McCarthy was the majority leader, his staff reached out to me, and got me out there. When I started testifying before his committees and his folks and veteran’s affairs, it became pretty obvious that not only had the GI not been updated since 1944, but it had never really been updated. No one had considered that these vocational schools, software development, would be something veterans would be interested in doing. So people have paddled around it around the aisle, toyed around the idea of making sure these things were GI Bill approved, but most people gave up. The coding industry for the most part gave up. “They hired lawyers and success was non-existent.” Operation Code came on the scene, instigated the whole thing and we have about from 30 chapters nationwide, globally, from here to Okinawa, and we instituted a lot of change within the industry, so now you can go to any one of these code schools here in Portland, the vast majority accept the GI Bill, and in Seattle, they accept the GI Bill. And it’s helping veterans all across the globe. So now, where it used to be like a vet like myself, a captain, couldn’t use my GI Bill, now, I could stop what I’m doing, go right to Code Fellows get out 6 months later, and be a software developer for amazon.com, for example. Pretty awesome that we did that and I’m still engaged with the board of directors, as board chair. Beyond that I’m a small business owner, I have a family-owned construction company, we do jobs in the federal area, with the Army Corps, the VA, the Navy, the Air Force, we sort of pride ourselves on being a mission driven contractor.
Interviewer: What’s the name?
David Molina: It’s called Molinas Construction Company, and it was started on a bootstrap budget. I got a loan from a buddy of mine for $3k. Got a grant from the Department of Labor (DOL) when I was an unemployed veteran seeking help, and the DOL gave me a $1k grant and I took that money bought and got my CCB, started learning the ropes, and doing contract work. I started landscaping and today I drive a dump truck and operate an excavator and what’s funny is I’ve written a blog about this, a personal blog, and the thing that you want to do you end up not doing. You end up doing something else, but the thing that you end up doing, makes you money, keeps you in shape, keeps you sweating out there, it’s creative in some aspects. It’s challenging, a small business, figuring out how to pay bills, how to make money, the small things. And it allows me to do Operation Code, and to continue to do Operation Code. And it’s really hard to continue working on your passion, the nonprofit you want to work on if you don’t have backing financially. Someone called it the starving artist model. I would be the starving barista essentially, cooking, doing something I don’t want to do, in order to do something I want to do at night.
Interviewer: How old are you?
David Molina: 39 now
Interviewer: What makes you want to run for the seat?
David Molina: I actually got wooed into the seat. I actually wanted to run for the school board. I approached a couple of colleagues in Washington County, Manuel Castañeda (he ran for state rep) and I’ve seen the blogs about how his girls get treated in the school. They’re going to ESL out of the blue, these girls speak fluent English, why do they need ESL? So the biggest thing that struck me is my daughters, they would go on field trips, and what struck me is how much food they throw away in the field trips. You don’t think about those things when you’re in school, you’re not paying for it, you’re so young. You eat it, you shut up, and you move on. It’s only four years, right, in high school or even middle school. But here as a father, I see that and think to myself, “what’s wrong with the food?” because I eat really well, I eat at the food trucks downtown, or I order Postmates in the field and the food comes to me. It’s the food I want to get. If I want to get a side of honey mustard, or a side of ranch, or if I want to get a cobb salad.
I get exactly what I want, but our children on the other hand are fed this model, it doesn’t matter what they want or what they want to eat. The user flow for them is that they’re going to go through as we say in the military, this gas chamber, and they’re going to suck it up, and choke up whatever through it. At the very end, it’s going to be okay, at the end of the year at the end of the day, when public school is done it’s over. I thought that was kind of wrong, I thought well let me taste it. So I tasted a piece. It sucked, it was terrible. I tasted what my other girl was eating, the corn dog, I didn’t like it either. I thought, all the kids are eating the potato chips, one sip of the juice, the milk is going straight in the garbage. Some of it is recycled, but for the most part it’s going in the garbage. I thought, “there’s got to be a better way,” because I come from a variety of different backgrounds.
My business, two software companies, and my role in Operation Code, whether it was in San Francisco, DC, or Portland, the food that we provide, the best and brightest, making really good money, is really good nutrition. It’s cereal, Kombucha, beer, you name it. They have it. It’s catered food, even at Airbnb in SanFran or the one downtown. But our kids, the ones to be our best and brightest, our future, we’re feeding them junk food. It dawned on me there has to be a better way, what’s going on? I started Googling, I started finding out that this was a problem rampant across the country.
Nutrition hasn’t been updated, and both sides of the aisle have kicked the can down the road for many many years, for forever because of entrenched interests. Interests that don’t want us to get away from the milk, from that set pizza, that set corndog, that set of corn. Entrenched interests that don’t treat the support staff, those in the kitchen equally to how we treat the teachers in the front lines. I thought, you know, if the food sucks, my daughter doesn’t eat it, and they come home hungry, and I take them to Taco Bell or Subway afterwards, what does our money go to then? What does our property taxes, our taxes go to? What is the increasing cost of living in Washington County go to if it’s not going to nutritional food, and no one is attacking this issue, and why is no one attacking this issue?
So, I took this issue to a bunch of folks. I asked I want to run for school board, I want to address this issue. And a number of people told me after reading my bio, after meeting me, reading my blog, they said, “Dave, I think you’re better suited running for something else than school board. The reason you can’t run and fix this issue with the school board is because of PERS, the unfunded liability, the 800 pound gorilla in the room that is eating more and more of every dollar that is supposed to go to the classroom, that is supposed to go to nutrition, field trips for our children, providing a good living. So I considered it—okay well, if this 800 pound gorilla which I never really heard of before—if this does exist, and it is eating more and more of our classroom dollars and our nutrition, I thought, what does that mean for me, what does that mean for work. I don’t intend to do a lot of our school board work.
The more they explained to me that this issue is PERS, it’s directed in Salem with a lot of entrenched interests, special interests, the more I looked into it, the more I was intrigued by the idea, the challenge that this posed. Should we fix this bigger problem, the unfunded liability in Salem? Not only would we fix transportation and potholes in Cornelius, infrastructure dollars, more money in people’s pocket, taxes wouldn’t keep going up as high as they are. We would be able to address housing, shortage of housing, a lot of other issues including veterans as well as fixing school lunches, so that’s how this whole thing came by, almost by accident.
Interviewer: This makes sense, we’ll come back to you in a second. Representative, can you point me to 3 pieces of legislation that you’re most proud of?
Susan McLain: Well I think in 2017, I would have to say the transportation package, the House Bill 2017, and I really believe it was one of those up-and-coming and progressive packages that we had, and they were not able to pass it, and they tried…There’s maintenance money in there for cities and counties across the state, in our area for example, there’s $13 million that came directly to Washington County, and another $3.5 million that came to Forest Grove and Cornelius, and also to Hillsboro, to fix roads, and to fix potholes, and to actually take care of some of the maintenance. It also has some modernization aspects, it has some basic pathways to school safety, and support for transit. It has support for a very balanced type of system that is working more and more and to improve basically our commerce as well as being able to deal with our congestion issues, there’s a wide variety of things that need to be covered in that package. It’s a package that goes for about 10 years as far as projects, both large projects, and large modernization efforts, but I would say that is number 1.
Number 2, he was talking about nutrition, we passed a bill that basically dealt with farm to school products to make more nutritional school lunches, and to get more of our farmers products to the schools, and they actually sell to the school programs. We also have been working on school gardens so they can actually have fresh produce right out of the school gardens. And that’s something that we’ve worked on in a couple of different sessions, but recently we’ve been able to give more support to that.
Interviewer: Would would you say about the overall characterizations of school lunches in Washington County?
Susan McLain: Well I have to say that I know of some federal guidelines that cause us not to be able to have our vending machines, and some of our pop machines, cannot be utilized in our elementary schools for example, during lunchtime because we are trying to make sure that our kids eat better, and we are trying to make sure that we have more types of nutritional meals, both breakfast and lunch. I also would point out that within the last four years that I’ve been here, I have voted on budget dollars for free breakfast and free lunch for the majority of our students, who are having problem with nutrition as well as, they basically have a food issue because they have families who live in poverty and don’t have enough money to buy the nutritional meals that we hope that they will eat. So I do believe that there are both federal guidelines and state program that we worked on diligently to make sure we are taking care of the needs of our children in the way of nutritional meals. That would be bill 2.
For the 3rd bill, it’s one of those bills, basically it was a bill that helped pass the state paying more for fragile mental students in our schools. We were paying 40% for high risk students, and we actually passed a bill that helped forest grove by giving something close to 2 million that they can use in their classroom rather than on the fragile students, because the state picked up 80% of those fragile students cost per students, and if the money falls, if the student changes from Forest Grove to Hillsboro or Beaverton, the money falls, and doesn’t go to the school, it goes to the student where the student is enrolled, So we’ve been helping with it, that was one of the 1st bills that I worked on, and it’s one I’m proud of. Interviewer: If elected, David, what’s the 1st priority for you?
David Molina: I see it in sort of a phased approach, Aaron, I worked in the legislature in as a staffer in ’09 when Dave Hunt was the speaker.
Interviewer: Did you work for Hunt?
David Molina: I did not, I worked for someone underneath him, who was the chair of the Veterans Affairs and Emergency Services Committee, it was Jean Cowan, a former county commissioner. I was Committee Administrator. I was responsible for writing what are called Staff Measure Summaries that are provided up in the dias, and they sort of give you the 911 of what these bills are about to do, their fiscal impact, their revenue impact. So I don’t hunt these things down. Often times the legislators would pass a bill, an idea, or resolution or whatever, and say Dave, this thing is getting movement, need you to assist, both sides of the aisle. So I got to work for both sides of the aisle on these things, I got to help draft these things. It was quite interesting writing them. Of course my writing skills weren’t the best then, but I got a lot of assistance from Debbie Koreski, Patrick Brennan, a lot of folks that were there, and also the members themselves, but I got to do that. And I see it, a lot of the stuff that you might be idealist, and say I want to do these things, it’ll have a fiscal impact—it’s going to cost money. o where is the money going to come from, these things are oftentimes dead on arrival, depending on who is in leadership.
We all know whoever has the gavel essentially decides who are your committee chairs, what things will move forward, will be heard in committee and will go forward. So if you’re seeing certain legislation coming out of Salem, you can bet the Speaker is gaveling these things, and directing their committee chairs that these are the things they want done. And the minority party will often have a voice but not really have a voice right. It’s not a 30-30 split. The way I look at it is a phase 1, 2, 3 approach, the things I’m looking for, nutrition for our kids in public schools, upgrading our infrastructure, and bridges and roads in Western WA county, expanding lanes like in Highway 26 that get clogged up.
When we’re looking at taking care of our veterans, there’s a veteran’s trust fund, to make sure that money that’s been promised to them doesn’t get squandered, put in some slush fund, when we start looking at tax breaks for small business owners, and LLCs, those that create jobs, we start looking at waiving personal income taxes for young professionals coming out in the work force.
We start looking at vocational training, you know as it is, to double vocational training in community colleges, we’ll need $70 million. I look at it as a phase 1, 2, 3 approach. Phase 1 we would be looking at cutting state spending, cutting areas of state government that in many cases has been wasteful, reckless. Funds that, the other day it was in the paper—$100 million! Huge discrepancies, huge holes everywhere, right, coming from the front page of the Oregonian.
Interviewer: Phase 2?
David Molina: So phase 2, when we cut 50% of government, start privatizing many of these areas, we look at addressing PERS, cashing out Tier 1 individuals, ensuring your judicial, governor, legislators, are ineligible for PERS, we would move legislation forward so they don’t have a dog in the fight so we can fix this problem. We would institute term limits, and more importantly, we institute, and close the revolving door, oftentimes we got legislators, who go 20-30 years as legislators, and they retire, they are on our public dime, and we pay for them, and they become lobbyist for special interests. So we have to close that revolving door, once they become a lobbyist, it’s a very slippery slope, we’ve seen that at the federal level, but it’s even more dangerous here in Salem, when that happens, it’s a black eye on all of us as Oregonians. When you have these lobbyists running around, they’re former legislators, because it shuts the rest of the people out, it shuts the media out, it shuts good journalism out, because they have the eye and the ear of the legislators, they’re the ones sitting in the room, lobbying the legislators that they just came from. It becomes a very bad thing. Once we get past this thing, this housekeeping, I would call it. We go to phase 3, where we want to spend money. Of course we want to spend money in nutrition, in schools, I would like to see a chef instituted at schools across 36 counties, a chef in the school districts where they prepare first class meals, sell these meals to support staff, the teachers, similar to you know like bypassing Postmates, and have gourmet meals made right there in our schools. Kids can order exactly what they want. My girls can go in there and order pasta and shrimp, and get exactly what they want, a portion for what they want, maybe some fruit and they’re off to the races. Exactly what they want made from scratch, kids can have nutritional food. In other words, we shouldn’t undercut our children.
I would like to see more tax breaks for small business owners and those coming out of college. I think college itself isn’t for everyone, vocational training might not be for everyone either. But I would like to institute vocational training in all our high schools, starting around the 10th grade. So when individuals are starting 9th, 10th grade, and they don’t want to go to a 4-year college, and be a lawyer or a teacher, let’s say they want to be a heavy equipment operator, or a welder, or a plumber, they can go off and get a certification in welding, work as an apprentice for a company like Hoffman, Jackson Industries, wherever, and work for them, pay off their bills, save money, get a nice wedding when they hit 18. I want to see more of those kinds of investments.
I want to see personal income tax, more importantly, go down from the current 10%, and word on the streets they want to go up to 12.5%, I want to see that thing cut to 4.5%, which is one reason, I want to see that stuff done at the constitutional level so legislators don’t get greedy, don’t get a little funny with our money. That comes down to 4.5% so Oregonians can keep more of their money, and they can invest it in our local communities. They can give to their churches, nonprofits.
Veterans is a big one for me. I see a lot of homeless veterans out in Washington County. I’ve met quite a few of them. There’s not enough help for them, there’s one center out there if your homeless you can bring your family out there, in sort of the eastern side of Hillsboro. I would like to see where veterans are backed by the home loan type Oregon, like the VA home loan, where Oregon backs them for a loan, and provides them an opportunity to get on their feet, and not just veterans, Oregonians in general. I see too many Oregonians that are priced out of the marketplace that were born right here in Oregon, being priced out by folks that are coming from out of state who are millionaires, paying cash. It’s a discrepancy, a tragedy for all of us. I would like to see that happen in Oregon, Oregon backing Oregonians, on these kinds of loans so they can get their plot of land, their land, their home, a studio, a tiny home whatever it is. I would like to see those things happen, but those things can’t happen unless we cut state funding by half. If we don’t address PERS, we got to make sure there’s no revolving door, that legislators don’t become lobbyists the next day for special interests, and we have to make sure these things happen.
Interviewer: Okay, great, tell me about autonomous cars.
Susan McLain: Can I respond to something?
Susan McLain: Okay, well, I agree with his goals, okay, but there’s a lot of work that’s been done. And I’m going to talk about homelessness and homeless bits, I was just remembering as he was speaking we put $1.5 million for a specific fund for homeless bits in the state of Oregon. We also spent $13 million in bonding for helping veterans get homes and to make different types of payments, down payments for folks that were trying to buy homes that are veterans. As far as the homeless in our area, we have a faith community that has 2 churches in Forest Grove that actually have shelters. The old town church, as well as the UCC church are working with Washington County on homeless program, and that homeless program takes up 8 shelters in Washington County from Tigard all the way to Forest Grove. We also put an extra $2 million into those emergency shelters this last session because we had some pretty big needs. But we did something more. The output from that program, the money that they got to give out to those 8 shelters had to have outcomes of at least 30% of the people that they sheltered during the cold part of the year to get them into stable funding. But we are working for that to be even higher than that, and we are trying to get the wrap around services for the homeless, and make sure that these people don’t only get into shelter living but also stable housing. So I agree with David’s comments about his goals, but there are some things, there are outcomes, of accountability on how these things are spent, by the cities, by the counties, on homelessness, transportation projects, and anything else. I don’t want to just sit here and indicate by my silence that those things aren’t important, but also that they are being addressed.
Now about autonomous vehicles. Autonomous vehicles in my view is probably one of the most exciting topics that I got to deal with as I became a legislator in 2015. We have such a wide variety of businesses whether it be Google, Intel, one of the TNCs like Uber or Lyft, or possibly a GM company, or whether it is Diamond trucks, everyone is interested in whether we have a safer type of transportation technology and infrastructure, to make sure that we don’t have folks on the road that are actually dying in human caused accidents. So there’s a lot of potential out there for technology that will help us with both our freight, trucking and commercial, but also help us with passenger and also ride shares and those types of programs. I’m not saying it’s all a rosy picture, and there aren’t challenges ahead, or there aren’t some safety issues of concern. We have federal responsibilities, NITSA, which actually puts out what is a safe vehicle, we have state responsibilities to make sure that we have pedestrians, bikes, regular cars that aren’t automated able to function on the road with automated vehicles.
And we are working through a task force where we had 20 meetings this summer, dealing with industry, jurisdiction, and dealing with folks who care about the environment, talking about the potential for safety and cleaner air, and helping our environment with this type of technology. But also how do we make sure that we have safety for pedestrians, and for bikers, and how quickly is that technology going to develop? We have one company saying it’s 3 years, and they’re going to have something at a level, what they call level 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. With folks like Tesla, it’s about 2+. It’s one of those areas that is exciting. It’s a new area of transportation, it’s a new area of technology that we should care about.
We do have obstacles of worker displacement, we do have obstacles of retraining workers who need to change their job description because of the technology that’s come, we’ve seen that before but we have to be serious about looking at that again. I could talk about that a long time, but we are hoping to have a bill this session and we have legal staff working on that now that is actually going to provide a framework that is going to get out of the way of industry to make sure that they can go forward with this technology in the state of Oregon, but also continue to be under data and work with folks from the environmental community and folks from our working organization to make sure that we deal with some of the challenges that we have ahead of us.
Interviewer: Are there companies seeking to test autonomous vehicles in Oregon now?
Susan McLain: There are people testing in Oregon now.
Susan McLain: Trucks, yes.
Interviewer: But no cars yet, unless you want to break some news.
Susan McLain: We did have in Washington County and some other areas some companies that were doing some very preliminary testing in August, when we had our county fair, around that time.
Interviewer: There were just autonomous cars?
Susan McLain: Yes, but remember there are still people in them driving, they’re not car operating without a driver, because that’s level 5. I’m not saying that there aren’t level 5s on a track, or level 5s in Arizona on a track, on streets, but there’s definitely testing going on now, yes.
Interviewer: Great, Dave, can you point to a vote that your opponent has taken that you disagree with?
David Molina: That I disagree with? I would have to say, I don’t have the votes right in front of me, but the ones that come to mind when I think of F-grades, or 0% or no confidence are those related to the private sector, chamber of commerce, and I would think family values, position on Pro-Life.
Interviewer: Related question, where are you on Measure 106?
David Molina: Describe it again?
Interviewer: It’s government funded abortions, it would restrict government funding of abortions.
David Molina: I’m not a fan of that, I’m not a fan of government funded abortions,
Interviewer: You would vote yes on it.
David Molina: I would vote yes on it, I don’t think government should be involved in it.
Interviewer: Representative? On 106?
Susan McLain: I would vote no, I will vote no, and it’s because there are 200,000-300,000 Oregonians that absolutely are not having an opportunity to get that full service healthcare if that passes, and full service healthcare means family planning, and it means making sure that you can get to come in and see a doctor on all issues that have to do with a wide variety of health issues.
Interviewer: On measure 105, the sanctuary funding. Where are you on 105?
Susan McLain: I’m voting no on 105, I’ve had a lot of dreamers, and lot of immigrant children in my classrooms over 42 years of teaching. I believe in sanctuary city status that we’ve had in the State of Oregon over 30 years, because I believe in safety. My Sheriff out in Washington County is also against 105, the police chief in Hillsboro, a former police chief is against measure 105, because they believe that if 105 passes, they believe that it will cause less safety in our communities, because people will be afraid to come to the police when they actually want to report crime.
Interviewer: Measure 105, yes or no?
David Molina: I grew up in the military, where you get on the base, the personnel, the commander know exactly who was on the base, he knew who was on there, who had an ID. My spouse at the time wanted to get on base, didn’t have ID, couldn’t get on base. If I committed a crime on base, the commander would have severe punishment and would expedite me on whether it was demotion, whether it was out of service. All that to say that if you’re on base, and we know that you’re there, and you don’t commit crimes, you have nothing to worry about. Many Hispanics, and all races, who have passports, visas, H2A, nothing to worry about, because if you’re on passport, a visa, we know you’re here, and you don’t commit crimes. The ones who I’ve talked to who are concerned about 105, are those that are involved in not so legalized ways of making an income because they know that when you hit a jail, you’re going to be reported to authorities the same way that if you and I were in Mexico, Columbia, and we committed a crime, and were sent to a jail, and were doing something felony-wise, something big, they would know that we’re there, we would be reprimanded, and they would do something about it for us. In that respect, I think it’s a good thing. I think we need to have more law and order. We need to make sure that people who are here for the right reasons, doing well, working for their families. Many in our district who I’m running for want to see safe neighborhoods. And many people who are here for the wrong reasons, spreading drugs, and opioids, heroin, crack, cocaine, and the things we’re seeing in West Virginia and the East Coast that are being decimated by drugs—we want to make sure that we are putting a hamper on those things, especially in Washington County, before they can get even worse. We’ve already seen folks that have taken their own lives with legalized drugs, fentanyl, and some others, it’s a tragedy. That’s kind of a separate conversation, but it kind of relates to . We want to make sure people are accounted for. And if you commit something, you are held to the strictest standard of what the law says, and you should be reprimanded for it.
Interviewer: Representative, you want to respond?
Susan McLain: I do not believe that immigrants are criminals, I do not believe that immigrants are necessarily drug chasers, so I thought there was a hasty generalization there as far as he was talking about people in our district who have been families that I have worked beside, families that have had children in my classrooms, and that offended me a little bit, so I’m sorry.
David Molina: Ma’am, that’s not what I’m saying, I’m saying that everybody should be accounted for, everyone should have an ID, and if you commit a crime, and if you go to jail, and you’re there for heroin, you shouldn’t be released as easily. Catch and release is there, as it’s often called. There should be some repercussions for it. I would hope that you agree with me that there are repercussions regardless of where you come from in the world and whether you’re a citizen. That we should know that you exist, you’re in the country, you have a formal id on you, we know where you live. If you commit a crime that egregious, you know sexual assault, harassment, those kinds of things, or rape I don’t care if you’re an immigrant, or born here, you should be reprimanded to that order. I hope you agree with me that the folks regardless of where you’re from should do that, we shouldn’t just release folks and treat it like nothing happen.
Susan McLain: I don’t know who’s being released, so I really just don’t understand your logic, sorry.
Interviewer: No need to apologize, you don’t have to agree with him. So to finish up, we have another one of these at 3. If you could give a 30 second elevator pitch of why we should endorse you, please go right ahead.
David Molina: Well I believe, I’m a doer, I get things done. I’ve done it since I first graduated high school, college, went to the military, first started a company, first to commission, first to serve in the state legislature as a staffer, first to launch a national veteran’s nonprofit. I’m bilingual, I’m fluent in Spanish. I relate to a lot of folks in the district who work for a living, I’m not on PERS and pension. I don’t have a dog in the fight in that respect. I will work to kill it. And make sure that our police, teachers, and folks are taken care of and the legislators definitely are removed from that.
We need to kill the revolving door, so I have an independent mind, and I can work both sides of the aisle. And I’m not just wishy-washy, I’m very principled, and most definitively, once I get behind something to work a task, I work the task, not the time. I get things done. In that respect, you know as a small business owner, in many ways, God has a saying in the Scripture, “Dios ahorca, no aprieta… aprieta, pero no ahorca.” God squeezes, but he doesn’t choke. We have done enough choking, enough squeezing of Oregonians across Washington County, and across the state. The state has with its regulations and tax burdens. We need to release that. We need to release innovators and entrepreneurs, innovation, and release their passion. Definitively we can make investments in our children.
We have to be very very careful with autonomous vehicles, with the displacement of people. I hear that a lot when I knock on doors. I caution the representative, because we have a number of people that are being displaced now because of technology. We have a number of people that are being out-priced in Western Washington County. And not only do we not need somebody that is going to be wishy-washy and say fancy things like we’re the next Silicon Valley, we need to be very cognizant that we represent the people of Western Washington County, folks that are farmers, ranchers, small business owners. We need to very, very careful. Displacement is very real. We see it already in Portland, and we’re seeing it now in Western Washington County. I hope that through your endorsement, it would be a reflection of that. I not only get things done, but I represent the values of Western Washington County, both single moms, parents, working families, those that work for high-tech companies. I have a mix of these backgrounds of my own. I care deeply about people, and I’m very empathetic. I make sure that people who are doing well are promoted and do even better. I would hope that that would be something that you would all consider.
Interviewer: Thank you. Representative, your pitch for why you should return to Salem?
Susan McLain: well thank you. First of all I want my opponent to know that he needn’t worry about me trying to displace workers. I have a large support for workers. We are doing a study right now about displacement of autonomous vehicle possibilities, and I have a very high regard for the workers in our state. I live in Forest Grove and have since 1975. I go to church in Cornelius and have taught in school for close to 42 years in Hillsboro. I know House District 29 very well. I also have a wide variety of experience with a wide variety of types of families in House District 29, mainly small businesses. I did a survey last year of 43 latino businesses, very small businesses, in House District 29, and those particular 3 communities to try to find out specifically what those needs were from those community members, so I am tied into those communities. I am tied into the district. And I hope you would consider endorsing me because of my actual involvement and leadership in the district over the years I have raised my family. And my children and grand-children still live in the area.
And I went down to Salem because I wasn’t looking for a new job. I loved teaching. I decided to retire from teaching so I could prioritize being basically a legislator that put a lot of time and work into the job. I’m on 6 committees, some folks are in 2 or 3 committees. I am on 6 regular standing committees including the audit. I also believe that I am the individual down there who is interested in making sure that government services and agencies are basically nimble and doing a good job spending the dollar. So we work with the Secretary of State for the audit committee, making sure that we are reviewing agencies and agency work, and agency budgets to make sure that the budget that the legislator actually puts in every 2 years is being used well and the money is being spent well.
I care about that community, and I have a very large work ethic, and there are very few people who can outwork me. And I am there because some of the work that I started and some of the work that I’ve been working on is not completed, Concerning education and transportation, there are things that I built that I have brought back, is a little strange, it is QBS, Qualification-based Selection, public contracting, and every school district, every water district, every fire district, every special district cares that we update that piece of legislation, so I pay attention to every detail, making sure that I am looking for things that actually makes our community lives our business lives, and all of our public jurisdictions work well, and I hope you will consider me for this race.
Interviewer: Thanks to both of you, the last thing we do here is we have a fun question, we call it fun because it is fun for us. The fun question is “What are you most frightened of?”
Susan McLain: What am I most frightened of? I hate rats.
David Molina: I hate not having money in my account, there was a time when I was growing up, and my mom lost her job because of NAFTA, we went broke real fast. From one year to another we didn’t go on vacation to see our family in Mexico, back in Nayarit and it sucked and for many years I didn’t go back. For me it’s the economics of it, the funding, where the spending is coming from. On the bigger picture, Western Washington County is very beautiful, and I’ve been to many parts of the country, through the military and I would hate for because of our policies, it would turn into Detroit, or some other place in the country where it’s dilapidated and people are leaving the region because of regulations and taxes, so that’s a big worry for me. I like the area, the sunsets, the clean air, and the people. For me it’s probably centered around funding, money, but don’t hold that against me.
Interviewer: That is also a good answer, thank you both very much.
David Molina: Thank you very much.
Susan McLain: Thanks for having us.