Charles Gallia is the Democratic candidate running for the Senate District 20 seat currently held by Republican Alan Olsen. Gallia has met with and listened to thousands of SD20 residents during his campaigning, and as he notes below, he aims to talk with many thousands more before November. He reports that one issue many residents have mentioned to him is climate change, which Gallia believes is “one of the most pressing issues of our time.” This, among other Gallia positions, stands in stark contrast to Olsen, a strident climate change denier.
Q: What message can you give to SD20 residents that will inspire them to vote in November, perhaps for the first time?
Gallia: It might sound cliché, but their vote really does matter. This will be a very close race. Now, more than ever, we need leadership in Salem that will be bold and work with others in the State House and Senate to pass economic, education, and transportation legislation that benefits all Oregonians. This is the time for first-time voters and for consistent voters to make their voices heard. I encourage voters to find out more about my priorities by visiting my campaign website or reaching me via email.
Q: What are your top priority areas and why?
Gallia: I think the most critical issue facing Oregonians is healthcare. Access to affordable, quality healthcare was my professional focus for over 15 years while working with the Oregon Health Authority. I believe every Oregonian deserves affordable, high-quality healthcare, regardless of their employment status.
I also know there is much more we need to do to support working families, like paid family leave, fully funding K-12 education, providing affordable childcare options, addressing the affordable housing crisis, and creating family-wage jobs. That is why I support developing more apprenticeship programs, making it easier for students to attend community college, and working to improve high-school graduation rates.
Q: Is there a recent piece of legislation whose passage you found especially gratifying?
Gallia: I was particularly pleased that the Reproductive Health Equity Act (HB 3391) passed. This bill provides additional coverage for Oregonians to access reproductive health services. It also prohibits discrimination in how reproductive health services are provided. I am proud the legislature sponsored such a bill, ensuring Oregonians have access to the healthcare coverage they need.
Q: As you talk with and meet residents of SD20, have they expressed any concerns that have surprised you?
Gallia: Talking to residents, I have heard many stories that inspire me to work hard in my campaign, so I can be a thoughtful, engaged legislator for them. When I’m talking to residents, many have expressed their concern about addressing one of the most pressing issues of our time: climate change. Others have stressed the importance of fully funding K-12 education and providing access to affordable, quality healthcare to all Oregonians. I look forward to working for the residents of SD20 to meet their needs.
Q: What are your plans between now and the November election to reach significant numbers of your future constituents, and how will you keep them informed should you win the election?
Gallia: Between now and November, I intend to reach out to tens of thousands of voters, through canvassing events, forums, and community engagement activities in the district. Residents can reach me any time through my campaign website, Facebook, email, or phone. I look forward to keeping it that way when I am in office, by hosting town halls, being accessible in the district, and responding to constituent feedback.
Q: How will you go about balancing the priorities of residents living in such a diverse district?
Gallia: I will work for all residents of Senate District 20. They come first. I have grown up in the district and my ties here will remain strong. Being raised by a single mom and my forest ranger grandfather, they taught me to appreciate the outdoors, value a quality education, and have a good sense of humor even when times are tough. I look forward to continuing to connect to residents of the district, hearing their concerns, and working to do what’s in the best interest of all Oregonians.