On Nov. 19, Dr. Pierce spent the day visiting Coos Bay and Klamath Falls, Oregon. He arrived in Coos Bay and started his visit with a conversation with David Koch, CEO of the Port of Coos Bay. During the visit, Pierce and his team learned about the issues with the Port and how the depth of the Port affected the community's ability to move goods. Development of this infrastructure is critical to the economic prosperity of this area. Bay area leaders expressed concerns that their port wasn't seen as a priority for state government.
Stopping by the main newspaper office, Pierce, his wife Selma, and the team headed over to The World to visit with Executive Editor Larry Campbell and Publisher Chris Rush. Economic prosperity in the area was a major theme as well as challenges of winning the governor's race against well-known career politicians. Pierce emphasized that if people are happy with the current administration and believe Oregon is heading in the right direction, then they won't change leadership at the top. He believes he provides a new vision and new direction for Oregon, and people want that.
A meeting with local community members and leadership at the Bay Area Chamber was next on the schedule. Selma, who serves on the Salem Chamber board, enjoyed being among colleagues in another region. Attendees expressed concerns about mandating wages in smaller communities and business viability.
KCBY TV, CBS-11 in North Bend was the next stop to meet Hannah Kinter, a multimedia journalist with the station who grew up in the area. You can see her interview here. She asked questions about the Doctor's background as well as the issue of accepting refugees. Pierce shared his distress over the issue, balancing concerns as to how Oregon will be able to support and financially help these people when they are doing such a poor job helping Oregonians right now.
The team grabbed a quick bagel lunch at Portland Bagel and got back on the trail.
After arriving in Klamath Falls, Dr. Pierce headed over to KFLS talk/news and met with Paul Hanson. Radio personality Hanson spent a number of years with KATU in the Oregon State Capitol and knew many of the political players. Hanson interviewed Pierce for about 20 minutes (part 1, part 2, part 3). They discussed Pierce's military service, his political career, and his involvement in negotiating liability reform.
While the group took a coffee break at A Leap of Taste, Dr. Pierce met a new Klamath Falls resident. They had a chance to talk about what she was learning about her new community.
Klamath County Chamber of Commerce welcomed Dr. Pierce to their living-room-style lobby for a community meeting. Reporter Gerry O'Brien from The Herald and News set some time aside to visit with the Doc for about 20 minutes before the event. You can read his article here. He was interested in how Pierce felt about Kate Brown and discussions about transparency, improving government and trimming spending were held. Keeping students, especially OIT graduates, in the area was mentioned—especially by recruiting new businesses to the area.
The Chamber meeting prompted some lively discussion about business success and concern about building infrastructure and developing highways. Water will continue to be an issue.
People in Coos and Klamath Counties continued to share concerns about feeling disenfranchised by political leaders. Pierce committed to listen and to return to the region for more conversations.