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Rayfield faces challenge from Hughes in House District 16

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Candidates for Oregon House District 16 are Jason Hughes, left, and Dan Rayfield.

Corvallis attorney Dan Rayfield is seeking his fourth term in Oregon House District 16.

Rayfield, a Democrat who also is representing the Working Families party, won election in the urban Benton County district in 2014. He replaced Sara Gelser, who moved up to the Senate.

Opposing Rayfield is Republican Jason Hughes, who owns a Corvallis logging firm.

Rayfield, in an appearance before the newspaper’s editorial board, said his key goals are passing climate change legislation, affordable health care and campaign finance reform. State finances, including a possible budget shortfall of more than $1.5 billion amid the coronavirus pandemic, also are a concern.

“How do you pull the economy out of the recession?” Rayfield said. “You have the stimulus package from the federal government, but that’s going to go away.” 

Hughes did not respond to requests for information about his campaign from the editorial board or a reporter. However, his campaign materials indicate an approach that will give district voters a clear alternative to Rayfield.

Hughes said the 2019 legislative session "was a wake-up call for me.”

He criticized Rayfield for raising taxes for K-12 education and for the failed cap-and-trade climate bill that divided urban and rural residents in Oregon and led to a second Republican legislative walkout.

“Dan’s out of touch with what working families need to run their businesses and raise their families,” Hughes wrote in his submission to the state voters’ pamphlet.

Hughes listed his priorities as passing a small business tax cut, increasing funding for career and business-skill education and to stand firm against new taxes.

Rayfield countered that “Oregon can be a leader when it comes to green jobs, if we want to be.”

He said he plans to reintroduce a bill for a “Buy Local, Buy Green” incentive program to require the state to purchase products that are made in Oregon and take into account a product’s carbon footprint, including transportation costs.

“I voted in favor of cap and trade, and I’d do it again (but) I think there are other mechanisms that could achieve the same result,” he said. “I also want to recognize that for a lot of rural communities, this is a very visceral and personal issue.”

Contact reporter James Day at or 541-812-6116. Follow at or


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