City & Government, Community

Primary Election ’24: In their own words: D-12, D-7 & Springfield City Council candidates

In their own words

As part of its nonpartisan approach to political coverage, The Chronicle does not endorse candidates; instead, it offers candidates equal opportunity to share their message their own words for readers’ consideration ahead of the May 21 election.

Oregon House District 12

House District 12 includes Cottage Grove, Creswell, Pleasant Hill, and most of eastern Lane County and into southern Linn County. Republican incumbent Charlie Conrad faces off Republican opponent Darin Harbick for the seat. No Democratic candidates filed for this position.

Charlie Conrad: D-12 (R)  incumbent


Many of us are now planning and planting our gardens as we do every Spring. I am excited for the taste of fresh salsa made with ingredients from our garden combined with ingredients from our family and neighbors. 

This is also the time of elections – ballots are in our hands. Just as we plant our garden in anticipation of the rewards, we elect people to office in anticipation of the work they will do – and the benefits we receive. 

As you read, consider, and discuss who to vote for in this election, I encourage you to think about what you want the end result to be. Do you want someone who knows how to work within the system to accomplish things for you? Or do you want someone who will just vote no, and not bring any tangible benefit back to our District? 

I understand that addressing our many challenges will take me, and electing people with character, experience, and the willingness to put in the hard work are a few of the criteria that are required to receive my vote.

For the past two years, I have had the privilege of bringing decades of public service experience to the Capitol on behalf of all the residents of House District 12. I voted to repeal Measure 110, re-criminalizing drugs, while maintaining needed funding to help folks get back on their feet. I voted to protect parents and kids, support veterans, and small businesses.

The District has directly benefited from the relationships and reputation I have established through the money I have brought into local communities to fund infrastructure projects, and through the additional appointments to groups, committees, and commissions.

As a very diverse, but primarily rural District, my focus has been to ensure the entire District is represented (55,000 voters) and our particular challenges are addressed. Distance and access to resources, limited revenue, and limited local representation all affect our daily lives. Working to improve public safety, emergency management, education, access to affordable healthcare, fighting inflation, and holding state agencies accountable are a few of the challenges I have taken on, and will continue to tackle. 

I am running for reelection to continue representing the District and the people who live here by building on the successes I achieved during my first term, and I would be honored to receive your vote.

Darin Harbick: D-12 (R) candidate


My name is Darin Harbick. I’m running for State Representative to put our conservative values into action.  I am a native Oregonian, but more importantly to me, I’m a grandparent and father. That’s why parental rights are at the top of my priority list. When I learned my opponent voted for House Bill 2002, I knew I had to do something.  

When I was a school board member and a high school and college basketball coach, I strongly encouraged parents to be involved and instill their values into their child’s life. To do this, parents need to know what’s going on to navigate these informative years. 

I would have never voted to take rights away from parents in HB 2002. Sadly, because of this bill passing parents won’t know if their child is making permanent gender change decisions or abortions because the professionals cannot inform parents by default. 

Republican Senator Cedric Hayden had the courage and backbone to make sure this bill was modified to be less extreme before it became law. I’m proud to announce Senator Cedric Hayden endorsed my campaign along with former Lane County Sheriff Bryon Trapp.

Another top priority is to make life easier on small business owners. When I bought my first business at 20 years old, the process was difficult, but it wasn’t a long-dragged out process with so much red tape like it is today. 

I would like to see people in District 12 who have always wanted to open a business to be able to accomplish their dream without the arduous process, draining their life savings and taking a long time. Let’s simplify the process. 

Lastly, mental health and substance abuse are a top priority. It’s no secret that Oregon has one of the highest rates of mental illness in the country. My wife and I opened a residential treatment home for people who suffer from mental illness because we see this right in front of us in our communities.

You see, I don’t just talk about the issues, I have solutions and I act on them. I will take my work ethic and a servant’s heart to Salem just like I did when my family fed three meals a day to over 200 firefighters, first responders, and workers the day after the Holiday Farm Fire started. Our communities deserve this kind of leadership. 

I would be honored to be State Representative for District 12.

Oregon House District 7

House District 7 includes Springfield. Democratic incumbent John Lively is contested by Democratic candidate Ryan Rhoads. Republican Cory Burket is also on the ballot for this seat. Rhoads could not be reached for request for participation.

John Lively: D-7 (D) incumbent


I am honored to have served the citizens of Springfield for almost twelve years in the Oregon Legislature. During that time, I have learned a great deal about the ever-changing needs of our area and our state and how to best address those in the Legislature. Experience is important to understand enough about the issues to be heard.

In 2025 the legislature is facing multiple challenges that will take much discussion and consideration of many options to adopt the best solutions. Funding of our transportation system is on top of the list. The state and local governments do not have the available funds to maintain our roads, bridges, and related infrastructure. Ever improving automobile efficiency has led to diminishing tax revenue generated by the gas tax. 

Given the growing gap in needs versus income, a multiple prong strategy will be required. One part of the strategy must be implementing the road user fee that I have worked on for over a decade to eventually replace the gas tax.

Besides transportation needs, we face increasing demands on our other infrastructure including sewers, water systems, electrical both for replacement and expansion. Again, it will require increased investments both by the state and local governments. As a legislator I will carefully consider the options presented to balance the needs along with the ability of all taxpayers to afford the costs. Too many of our citizens are already burdened by the rising costs in so many other areas.

Managing the state budget is always a priority especially as we face higher overall costs and demands with revenue that will not be sufficient to meet all the needs. I am a staunch supporter of agreeing to our priorities and funding them before we consider any new programs. In addition, we still have areas that we have not fully funded the need, like behavioral health, homelessness, the cost of housing, job training and other similar areas that are critical to our standard of living. We cannot afford to not understand the impacts of not fully funding such key areas.

As I have always done, I will continue to focus on long-term financial stability and accountability to ensure that our citizens get the services for which they are paying.

Cory Burket: D-7 (R) candidate


State government needs to stop telling Springfield what to do. I moved to Lane County from Southern Oregon to be a union low-voltage electrician. When I got laid off during the 2008 housing crash, my wife Julie and I got to experience the generosity of this community firsthand.

I am grateful for those challenges because they set me on a path to enter the Springfield/Eugene business, faith, and nonprofit communities, where I have met and experienced the best of Springfield. But we have challenges to face stemming from Salem politicians.

We’ve seen the consequences of poor leadership from our state government: rampant homelessness and drug abuse, an ever-increasing cost of living, and local businesses being shut down from excessive regulations. These limit Springfield’s potential, but I am running because I believe Springfield deserves to unleash that potential.

Let’s be specific.

Former Governor Kate Brown issued an executive order to impose expensive and unpopular environmental regulations found in her failed Cap and Trade bill. In response, the City of Springfield had to compile a 325-page report to explain to the state government how we planned to comply with these new regulations. The result will cost Springfield residents more by forcing us to build homes that Portlanders want, not what we want.

Many of us remember the ultimatum ODOT gave us when they told us that our Main Street upgrades needed roundabouts and bike lanes. They weren’t interested in the needs of local Springfield residents and businesses; instead, they wanted to transform our Main Street, which would have decreased transportation capacity and business access. We are all thankful the city council stepped in to halt this disaster.

Rosboro recently closed its mill because of state regulations, costing 25 families their livelihood. State policies that restrict the supply of lumber are not in the best interest of our community. In 2021, the Legislature forced Springfield to pass an ordinance to allow homeless camps. Even though Springfield banned panhandling years ago, the state still wants to come in and tell us how to manage our homeless challenges.

These examples illustrate one thing: the political class has lost touch with everyday Oregonians already struggling and now also living with the consequences of that disconnection. I am running to be Springfield’s voice in Salem because we need better leadership that pushes back against the government telling us what to do.

Springfield City Council

Mayor Sean VanGordon is running unopposed, and so are councilors Kori Rodley (Ward 3) and Beth Blackwell (Ward 4). Ward 6’s Joe Pishioneri, current council president, is not on the ballot. Instead, Alan Stout is the sole candidate for this seat. All candidates were contacted for request for participation. 

Beth Blackwell: Springfield City Council – Ward 4

Hello, Springfield! I am thrilled to have this opportunity to introduce myself to you as a candidate for the position of city councilor from Ward 4. My name is Beth Blackwell, and I am excited to share my vision for our community and my commitment to making a positive impact on the lives of our residents.

First, a little about me. I was born and raised right here in Springfield, and this city holds a special place in my heart. I have witnessed the growth and changes that have shaped our community over the years. It is this deep connection and love for our city that has inspired me to step up and serve as your councilor.

Last April, I was appointed to the council, and since then, I have been working tirelessly to address the pressing issues that affect us all. In my professional life, I work as a real estate broker, which has given me a unique perspective on the importance of affordable housing across all levels. I have seen firsthand the struggles that individuals and families face in finding a place they can call home. That’s why I am committed to advocating for policies and initiatives that ensure everyone has access to safe and affordable housing.

But my passion for our community extends beyond housing. I firmly believe that a thriving local economy is the backbone of any successful city. Bringing business and development to Springfield is essential for creating job opportunities, attracting investment, and fostering a vibrant community. I have supported initiatives that promote entrepreneurship, job creation, and economic growth. By bringing new businesses to our city, we can strengthen our local economy and provide more opportunities for our residents to thrive.

In addition to housing and economic development, I understand the importance of investing in our infrastructure. Well-maintained roads are vital for the smooth functioning of our daily lives. As your councilor, I am committed to being a strong and effective voice for Springfield. I believe in the power of community engagement and actively seek input from residents on these important issues. Your concerns and aspirations are my top priority, and I will work to ensure that your voices are heard and represented in city council deliberations.

In conclusion, I am Beth Blackwell, a proud Springfield native and dedicated community advocate. I am committed to making a difference in our community and ensuring a bright future for all who choose to call it home. Together, we can build a stronger, more prosperous Springfield.



View this profile on Instagram


The Chronicle (@thechronicle1909) • Instagram photos and videos