By Nathalie Hardy • Columnist • 

Double dose of good news for Weidner

Marcus Larson / News-RegisterLocal candidates Allen Springer, sitting, and Jim Weidner re-act after Fox News calls the election for Obama.

Election day was especially good to state Rep. Jim Weidner.

First, he won his campaign for a third team in the Oregon House, besting McMinnville businesswoman Kathy Campbell 11,726 to 9,225 or 54.8 percent to 43.1 percent. A third candidate, Kohler Johnson, drew 449 votes to account for the other 2.1 percent.

But more importantly, after a month of worrying, he learned Tuesday that tests showed his wife, Reyna, does not have cancer as feared.

Election night found the local Republican faithful at the Mazatlan Mexican restaurant, celebrating Weidner’s win as well as that of custom homebuilder Allen Springer in a non-partisan county commissioner race.

Downtown at the 3rd Street Pizza Company, local Democrats also found something to cheer about — President Barack Obama’s re-election — despite seeing Campbell fall to Weidner and Denise Bacon to Springer.

After the cheering for Obama subsided, though, county chair Liz Marlia-Stein looked forlorn as she considered the local setbacks.

“While it’s thrilling nationally and statewide, the results in Yamhill County are disappointing,” she said. At the same time, she said, “It’s more hopeful than in the past. We need to keep progressing.”

At Mazatlan, the reactions were also mixed.

The excitement of Weidner’s win and Springer’s early lead were tempered by GOP losses in the presidential race, key U.S. Senate races and the entire slate of statewide offices in Oregon. A hushed silence fell over the group as Romney appeared to concede the presidential race to Barack Obama.

“Of course, I’m happy with the victory and proud of the people who helped by putting in long hours holding signs and knocking on doors,” Weidner said. “I would be happier if the presidential results were different.”

In his personal life, though, Weidner said he couldn’t be more relieved or more thankful.

“After 20 years of a wonderful marriage, it’s really nice to know we’re going to have another 20, plus,” he said. He said he was thankful to all their Christian supporters for prayers and encouragement, throughout his wife’s health concerns and his campaign.

Now that he’s successfully navigated the re-election shoals, Weidner said his top priority is securing enough funding for schools so districts can stabilize their budgets. He said he wants to see $6.3 billion of dedicated funding with a guaranteed 3 percent annual increase.

“Education is always held hostage,” he said. “It’s hard to budget for school districts, and they are funded last. This would make it easier for them to plan and negotiate contracts.”

The next priority for Weidner is implementing an Oregon Health Care Card similar to the Oregon Trail Card. People would get a preset amount of doctor and emergency room visits, and when they pass that point they would start paying a co-pay.

Also, he said he’d work toward doctors being paid in a timely manner and on having the state start bidding on generic prescription drugs as it does for brand name ones.

Campbell, owner of Wednesday Wines, said she was sad more Democrats didn’t turn out to vote locally.

“But we did not accept sleazy money, we did not do anything illegal and we did not throw any mud,” she said, “so we are going out with our heads held high. That’s how we started and that’s how we ended.”

Despite her disappointment, Campbell said she has had a fantastic time getting to know so many people during her campaign. 

“Personally, this has brought lots of avenues for things I want to pursue,” she said. “This has taught me some great things and I want to do something that’s going to be a benefit to the most people.

“I have met the most incredible people and I have learned about the most incredible causes people out there are working on, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.”

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