Reporter's Notebook

The art and science of the interview

Oregon2020 – David J Smith

leave a comment »

These transcripts are presented to help users quickly find information they are searching for within the interview. Keywords may be searched using the CTL-F function. The software used provides a very rough but phonetically accurate transcription and for the most part, punctuation is omitted. Human speech patterns, being unique, make reading the interview transcript more difficult than listening to the interview audio file. It is recommended that users use the transcript and audio file together. For more information, visit the Candidate Interview Project at

This is a transcription of the David J Smith interview

DM – Don Merrill
DJS – David J Smith

00:00 DM – I’m don merrill I’m talking with David J Smith Mr. Smith is running for Oregon House District 13 he is a Republican and hes here in the studio with me this morning Mr Smith welcome

00:11 DJS – thank you thank you for having me

00:14 DM – I guess the first question I want to ask you sir is why you want to run for public office

00:20 DJS – one of the primary reasons I decided run was the burden of property taxes on senior citizens I wrote a petition had the petition approved by the Secretary of State only to find out that I wasn’t going to be able to get 112,000 signatures for approval and it was a task that would require 500 soldiers out in the field gathering signatures for me so I got really frustrated and I spoke with a person who’s in the house legislature and he convinced me to run so thought I would try this approach bring my petition to the floor and see if I can get that approved with a vote in the House and in the Senate

01:03 DM – you are a Republican where would you put yourself on the political spectrum

01:12 DJS – I’m in the middle on some social issues and I’m conservative on many other issues I’m not far right and I’m not in the middle-of-the-road on issues like spending and taxation I’m close of the middle-of-the-road a lot of social issues

01:35 DM – close middle-of-the-road of the right side of the political spectrum are close to the middle as in a moderate

01:44 DJS – moderate

01:45 DM – okay we know moderates are an endangered species in our political climate right now

01:50 DJS – yes they are don’t want to be heard by either side if youre speaking about certain issues and youre going to infurate one-sided and then you speak out youre going to infuriate the other side so it’s it’s a hard place to be sometimes

02:05 DM – what is on the mind of your constituents I mean can you tell me about them and what do you think are some of the biggest issues facing them

02:10 DJS – I believe that the seniors 65 and older 60 and older are really worried about the state of the nation and the state of the state of Oregon when they talk to me they reflect ideas that the moral ground that they grew up in this communities they a grew up in are being attacked the Constitution is under attack our rights and our liberties are being nibbled away a little bit of the time until all of a sudden we dont recognize the place where we were raised

02:53 DM – when you say they feel like the moral ground is being attacked what you mean by that what do they mean by that

02:59 DJS – if you look at what the far left is been proposing over last two or three years it’s at a level of almost what we would consider growing up as deviant behavior we know which bathroom to use we know what’s right and wrong to suggest sexual behavior like pedophilia should be accepted Ive heard that argument from the far left things like that were just it’s wrong and and there just has to be areas where things are just plain wrong and unacceptable

03:36 DM – I want to talk a little bit about some of the issues that have been dominating the short session of the legislature one of them is is is cap And trade Oregon legislators have walked out over cap And trade legislation and I want to know if you can explain from your perspective why cap And trade is such a contentious issue

03:57 DJS – the climate change argument has not been settled regardless of what the left says to think that they’re going to save the planet by raising money and stealing money out of your pocket and taxes and more taxes and more taxes what are they going to do with that money and how are they going to resolve what their argument is that we have too much carbon in our atmosphere I just don’t accept that and it makes me skeptical there was an old saying when I was going to the universe you Oregon that I love my country but I fear my government well I still fear my government I don’t trust them Ive seen more examples of failure spending incredible amounts of money than I’ve seen success so it’s hard for me to trust government doesn’t seem to be in their agenda

04:52 DM – some of the people who support balance budgets for the federal government and transparency in government budgeting believe that that’s probably the best way to bring some accountability back to finance and fiscal responsibility issues how do you feel about that

05:15 DJS – governments supposed to work for us government of the people by the people and for the people they’re supposed to serve us not rule us and when Jimmy Carter was president he changed the way that budgeting took place and it’s been messed up ever since were supposed to have a budget every year on schedule on a certain date and now they roll it over with a six-month extension six-month extension keep doing that and it just add to the percentage or whatever they call for inflation but they never actually sit down and analyze the budget and try to figure out where the wasteful spending can be cut I think transparency is absolutely imperative and if you really want a government thats accountable I think term limits for congress is probably the biggest answer

06:06 DM – I’ve read on some right leaning websites that there is an interest in returning to the gold standard because people say that the American currency is a Fiat currency and it needs to be based on something that is actually tangible so what are your thoughts about that

06:26 DJS – I understand the argument they print as much money as they need and every time they print money the value of the dollar goes down it has to be based on something tangible it should be a right now the only reason that the dollar bill is an exchange of currency is because people accept it but its based on nothing other than good faith whether its the gold standard or another standard I think there should be something built into the economy where you have a trust in the dollar you’re holding it used to have a silver certificate used to have a gold standard I’m not sure I would return back to those things because precious metals are not in that great abundance but I think something to be figured out

07:16 DM – are you a supporter of Pres. Trump

07:20 DJS – yes I am

07:21 DM – is he running the US government the way you would like to see Oregon state government run

07:25 DJS – that’s a big question whether hes running the government the way I would like to see it run or he’s doing things in in government that I might be oppose the thing that I like about Pres. Trump the most is that we have an ingrained a level of corruption from people both parties it is not Republican or Democrat or libertarian or anything else but these parties have created little fiefdoms in their bureaucracies youve got people in government that of been there for 30-40 years they live by lobbyists and their money coming into them theyre prostituted themselves basically to keep getting reelected that’s a system that doesn’t work for people it doesn’t answer the questions of the needs of the individual and their families it doesn’t answer the needs of social justice or anything else it’s it’s it’s bad and if hes going to clean this what they say clean the swamp I’m all for that I look at what he’s been able to accomplish in the economy especially in foreign foreign affairs and in trade everything that is done is been a plus a benefit to the American people if he had the anti-Trump movement Democrats along with him it’s amazing what he couldve under undertaken and solved and problem we wouldn’t have to worry about things for a long time

08:58 DM – its interesting that you say that because I seem to remember the same thing was said about Pres. Obama and if the Republicans that people accused of being obstructionist to him had also been behind him the way you or others feel that Democrats should be behind Pres. Trump there is no limit to what we can accomplish so I want to ask about that I know that there’s a lot of contention in the legislature both in the state legislature and in the federal government and the argument is that no matter what is proposed the other side is going to shoot it down do you think that the issue is communication that the argument is if you don’t agree its simply because I haven’t explained clear enough or do you think it really is because the views are so different that there could never be any a room for compromise

09:54 DJS – let me go back to what Obama did growing up take the civil rights movement my generation is the generation that allowed progress to be made in civil rights the protests Martin Luther King and always these different events where people were protesting and marching if my generation hadn’t considered those justice and looked at them in a positive way they never would’ve happened the old generation that were in power before us would’ve shut that down it it never would’ve taken place my generation took on the civil rights movement we worked with all parties involved to make it a better place I think that if if you allowed thoughts to be exchanged that we could of made a lot more inroads Obama comes along with thing are actually improving and creates a division in our society turning people against the police turn people against each other dividing us into small groups and the contention just got worse and worse and worse I just think that as a group now we are at each other at odds and basically is an old term called loggerheads and were not gonna budge and theyre not gonna budge so I don’t see a lot of improvement or change taking place that would benefit the country

11:30 DM – so leading on to that I was talking to another candidate recently and they talked about how one of the problems in the Oregon legislature is that there is a Democratic supermajority and Republicans are in a super minority and so are you saying by saying that you know were loggerheads that there is no possibility of any kind compromise

11:57 DJS – there’s no need to compromise if one party is ruling they don’t have to compromise you shove whatever they want through the process and that’s what it is it become law you have a Democrat governor who is willing to sign just about any bill that comes your way and Republicans are anybody else not just Republicans but anybody with a different idea or a different proposal they don’t get any consideration whatsoever it’s just gone

12:27 DM – when I hear you it almost sounds like a combination of hopelessness and anger

12:31 DJS – its both its hopelessness because you can’t talk to people any more the political discourse is not friendly and if you have an idea that doesn’t mean it’s a good one and Democrats seem to think that every idea that they spill out must be the best idea ever in mankind and when we get a pass this and were gonna do this were gonna tax this really get that if you disagree with that then youre painted as the bad guy they call you names you all these horrible things that people don’t want to be called

13:06 DM – do you believe Vladim Putin influenced the 2016 election and do you believe the Russian government is trying to influence the 2020 election as some of America’s intelligence agencies are warning

13:17 DJS – the only personal exposure I had to that was on Facebook I saw people posting various articles on all kinds of the political issues and all of the sudden they have Russian names once the election was over those names disappeared whether it had any effect on the vote I doubt it whether it had any effect on people’s opinions I doubt it it was entertaining and fun to read and you might respond to a few of them but no I don’t think so I think there’s always been a contention trying to one up each other since the Cold War that’s not going to stop and if they can interfere with us or tilt us a certain way make us look bad theyre gonna do that we do that to them as well

14:06 DM – so is that a yes

14:08 DJS – but to a its it partly it’s a yes it is not just a blatant okay yeah they did this I don’t necessarily believe that they went out to decide who the president was going to be they went out to create chaos if anything I don’t think they wanted Hillary and I’m not sure they wanted Trump but they had to make a choice between one of the other so I think they just wanted to create chaos and confusion within the of the voting bloc of our country

14:44 DM – US attorney Billy Williams announced that trump administration was sending special-teams to arrest undocumented immigrants normally states rights would be paramount to state legislators but there is a sometimes fear that letting the government put his nose under the tent can lead to more federal control and less state local control you mentioned something earlier about your think I we don’t use of the government we have at our disposal something like that do you do you have any thoughts about possible federal encroachment or or mission creep stemming from these teams at the president wants to send it to sanctuary cities

15:23 DJS – immigration was something thats been abused and was supposed to be solved when Ronald Reagan was president he allowed eight or 10 million something like that people to get citizenship and Congress was supposed to pass some laws that would fix the immigration laws at that time and they refused to do that after they got their part they didn’t want to pass the laws to fix the system and it has been going on ever since it cant continue it’s at that boiling point where something has to happen and the federal government has immigration laws and theyre supposed to be enforced at the local level and state level youre supposed to cooperate with the federal government if that’s a law and theyre accepted by all 50 states the states that are throwing up sanctuary issues and and basically there thumbing their nose of the government saying we don’t have to obey those laws I think their wrong if you want to protect the people and that’s the main main issue that government has is the security of the people then you’ve got to be able find out who’s in your state whose in your city and if they’re great people fine their great people maybe maybe we don’t have to go arrest them and do all these things but in that mix of people there’s also a lot of really bad people and bad people need to either leave the country or they need to be put in jail because they’re not here to be nice they’re here to hurt people and make victims out of people every day of their life

17:00 DM – I’ve talked with several candidates and then read that some folks on the right feel that all of the problems in government because of liberals like liberals believe all the problems in government are because of conservatives what is it that the left of the understand about the right and what is it that you think the right doesn’t understand about the left

17:17 DJS – if I if I consider government and and the social arena that we all live in it’s on a pendulum for a few years it swings way over to the left and once that gets to be too extreme people kind of push back in the pendulum start to swing back to the right and when the right gets too extreme that it swings back and the best place for government and people to be and 90% of us live in that area is in the middle but we’ve been in the far extreme left for a while now eight years with Obama was very far to the left in many areas and people are fed up with that they’re pushing back

17:58 DM – so where do you feel the pendulum is now

17:59 DJS – I think it’s on the way back toward the center there so much anger on campuses and universities you’re not allowed to express your opinion if you want to go home with all your teeth you you better be quiet

18:18 DM – I want to ask a question about PERS real quick the public employee retirement system is some say bankrupting the state other say that state has a contractual obligation to pay people no matter what the legislature just made some changes to PERS which it hopes will have some kind of effect on the deficit for the state what do you think about the way the state has handled the PERS issue

18:45 DJS – it’s been a disaster I don’t have a problem with somebody making millions of dollars a year we’ve got football coaches and university presidents and people who make a lot of money I don’t think the PERS was ever designed to support their millionaire lifestyle when they retire it’s like Social Security it’s there to help you along whoever negotiated the contracts to allow these people to make $50,000 a month in retirement and then go to work as a sportscaster for the networks and make another four or $5 million a year that was insane things like that shouldn’t happen to my understanding that right now were about $27 billion in the red were not generating enough revenue to maintain that do you realize how many guys out there holding of flag on a highway make their contribution to their retirement how many of those guys is it take to filter off enough of their retirement to make one payment of $50,000 a month to one individual that’s just wrong it doesn’t make any sense now what are they going to do about it is been taken to court the court said that as a contract you have to honor the contract but juggling money from one program to another so you can find excess money and funnel it into the PERS account thats madness

20:20 DM – there was a recent show of support in Salem in an effort to kill legislation to require guns to be more securely stored or to have trigger locks so I’d like to ask you what do you think that in of such requirements I mean do you think that they have a good basis in that theyre intent is to help keep people safe especially children who can be curious or do you think that infringes on gun ownership rights

20:45 DJS – I think the intention was there in writing I think that it’s an infringement on the Second Amendment there was a little part of the second amendment into this language quotation mark shall not be infringed because they understood at the time they wrote that that having lived under British rule and so on that those rights could be taken away anytime they wanted to they wrote that in so that it could not be taken away and every time they come up with an idea one state I read yesterday theyre going to put a 35% tax on buying ammunition another state wants you to put a lock on a on firearm or put it in a safe and if a person needs that weapon because their family is under assault how long does it take to open the safe load the gun and protect your family theyre are all dead by then and I guarantee you one thing the only thing police can do at that point is bring body bags the Second Amendment is there there we’ve got 300 million people in this country we’ve got half of them that own guns and they’ve never used them in a violent way we’ve got a few people who’ve had to use them and they’ve saved lives because they were willing to shoot the bad Guy some of these people that have opened fire in a in a shopping mall or a restaurant they went in there with bad intentions and luckily on some occasions there was an individual there that was able to stop it and he could only stop it with his own firearm anybody that is taking gun rights away arent taking it away from the bad guys they’re taking it away from people who’ve never done anything wrong

22:34 DM – when people think of homelessness they they think of of problems in Portland or Eugene are here in Salem but I wanted to ask if you’ve noticed the same kind of homelessness issues in Lane County and if you won the House District 13 seat how would tackle it

22:53 DJS – by think there’s three categories of homelessness there’s a the family and her husband and wife and kids maybe the fortunes turned against them they lost their job they couldn’t make rent payments bad things happen maybe have medical issues and their broke theyre out on the street living in a car I think those people should be given every hand up that they can get then you’ve got people who were basically mentally ill they been diagnosed as mentally ill they may be harmless but theyre mentally ill they have a separate problem of their own we used to have hospitals and and facilities to take care of people that really had a hard time living within society they need all the help they can get but in a different way then youve got the third group theyre drug addicts theyre alcoholics theyre people who wander around from city to city they make victims out of people every day to support their habit and if I had my way I would just force them either into one of two things either go into rehab or spent some time in jail and dry out the hard way

24:07 DM – well you know the last two categories of drug addicts alcoholics and then mentally ill veterans make up a large group of those people

24:14 DJS – yes it does

24:15 – DM – so and I know that Oregon has veterans court they also have a lot of facilities because the states very conscious of of trying to take better care of veterans

24:27 DJS – we’ve always had hobos and bums we’ve always had these wandering souls that travel up and down the coastline all the way back into the dustbowl days that’s not new what is new is the liberal idea of allowing people to shoot up on the street throw needles in the sidewalk drop their pants and then go to the bathroom in front of your business or in front of your kids these thing have changed that’s all a new experience for this homeless issue I think its wrong we’ve had morals we’ve had rules when I worked in San Francisco right out of college I would up on the 8th floor on the corner of post and kerney and there were dumpsters in an alley and I would see bums homeless people drug addicts whoever they may be going to the alley drop their pants and go the bathroom and they did it in private and it was like that’s what they do okay you have to go someplace to go the bathroom restaurants are not gonna let you in Macys isnt gonna let you in to use their facilities that’s what they did now because of liberal ideas theyre are right out in the middle of the sidewalk I saw a video on YouTube where these people were sitting on the sidewalk in a nice sunny day a little French type of table the guy walks right up in front of them drops his pants and goes to the bathroom that’s wrong I don’t care what you say that’s wrong

26:07 DM – a lot of legislators are using social media to reach their constituents and and supporters do you have any social media accounts

26:17 DJS – I look at FB once in awhile and I have a twitter account I don’t look at it that’s it you know I I pay attention to the news I read my papers in and I try to stay current on all the events that I can social media can be a weapon or it can be a blessing

26:41 DM – so if you got the seat would you use social media to stay in touch with your constituents

26:45 DJS – I might yeah I might you know I think that the more you can find out what your your constituents want within in the area that you’re serving the better you can be at it and I have my own ideas that’s not necessarily the ideas of of my constituents in my in district 13 so the only way I can do that is to tell them how I feel and ask them for comments on how they feel exchange ideas

27:15 DM – running for political office is expensive it’s stressful it’s time-consuming how has your family reacted to your decision to run and are they ready for the rigors of political campaigning

27:27 DJS – my family is diminishing because were all getting old and my family is proud of me for what Im doing my friends are proud of me for I’m doing because I’m stepping up I I understand it’s expensive I can I can receive donations on my website David Smith for Oregon and even if you could send a dollar that would help every little bit helps but right now I’m I’m trying to get organized I’ve never run for office before it’s a new experience for me and I’m sorting through the things it kind of superfluous and trying to get down to the things that are absolutely necessary and roll my sleeves up and get to work

28:18 DM – this my last question why should Oregonians vote for you

28:23 DJS – Oregonians should vote for me because my opponent in this particular race has been in office since 2007 she is a solid Democrat she’s voted 98.4% of the time for whatever the bill was in the Democrat agenda that’s not her district her district is not 98% Democrat so I think there is a huge percentage of people in my area that are not getting represented I’m sure she’s a nice lady and I couldn’t speak ill of her but I think it if you roll over a few people now and then and get rid of career politicians you’ll find that people serving the country serving the city serving the state will do much better job and I intend to do a better job

29:16 DM – okay I really appreciate take the time to come and talk to me thank you

29:21 DJS – thank you for having me

29:23 DM – I’m don merrill I’ve been talking with David J Smith Mr. Smith is a Republican he’s running for Oregon House District 13 thanks for listening

Written by Interviewer

March 4, 2020 at 06:00

Posted in Scratchpad

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: