The latest candidate to jump into Oregon’s Congressional District 2 race is Dr. Jenni Neahring, from Bend. She decided to run because, as a physician, she sees many areas of our health care system that need changing, but was repeatedly told nothing will change unless decision-makers at the top of our government change. She believes in a single-payer healthcare model, and says it would save money by weeding out redundancy, unnecessary procedures, and endless paperwork.
Many issues tie back to healthcare, Neahering says, even guns and the environment. She believes people in a state as divided as Oregon can still unite when it comes to people’s safety, air and water quality, and access to good medical care. Her father’s family were refugees from China, so Neahering understands why immigration is so important to America. She serves on the board of a public charter school focused on the environment and has developed a fascination of the relationships in nature that once disrupted, have a long chain of consequences.
Neahring is a palliative care physician, helping people with chronic and terminal illnesses live as best they can. While working with this population, she became interested in health policy, and how it affects people’s lives. She has also worked with veterans and in VA hospitals, so she knows the needs they face.
Her campaign strategy hinges on raising money. She believes it will take $1-$2 million to run against incumbent Rep. Greg Walden (R-Hood River). She says she will be counting on, not only small donations from the district, but support from medical associations anxious to get someone elected who knows what good health care policy is. Women in medicine groups can raise money as well, Neahering says, and they are anxious to support someone willing to improve medical care nationwide.
Neahring said she’s late to the campaign because she was working until about a week ago, and is just starting to visit district 2 and attend forums with other candidates. She has hired a campaign manager, and is in contact with prominent Oregon Democrats, including former Gov. John Kitzhaber, who has put her in touch with campaign organizers.