District three Senate candidates faced off in SOU town hall forum
by Genevieve Grippo, Friday, October 12th 2018
ASHLAND, Ore. — The countdown for November's elections is on, and Thursday night, candidates for Senate District Three vied for the public's vote in a town hall forum hosted by Southern Oregon University and Jefferson Public Radio.
Democratic candidate Jeff Golden and Republican Candidate Jessica Gomez met at the university to answer questions derived from community concerns emailed to JPR prior to the forum.

One of those concerns was tuition costs at public universities, and whether the candidates would consider a boost in state support to lower the cost of in-state tuition for students. The question also asked other ways the candidates would support education at all levels. Gomez said she would like to increase support for public universities, but the problem lies in getting spending under control elsewhere-- mainly administrative costs. "You have things like PERs, you have things like healthcare that all businesses within our region are dealing with, and that's what driving up the cost," said Gomez. "We can try to invest more and try to bring down tuition, but unless we get that spending under control... we're going to continue seeing the need for those budgets to rise, and tuition rise with it." Golden opened his answer by stating that access to affordable education is paramount to equal opportunities in society.
Over time, he said the state has dis-invested in education, and he's open to creative solutions to change the tide. "I'm interested in some creative programs that are around, that are probably in the line of an AmeriCorps, or OregonCorps program," he said. "I'd like to see young people offer college tuition in return for a year or two out in the woods reducing fuel with the help of the federal government." Candidates were later asked about women's rights and safety. Golden took to his answer first. "There are reasons to believe that women have been harassed and abused in the capitol over the years," he said. "It is really difficult or hazardous to a career for a woman to come forward with complaints." For that reason, he said a third party should be in charge of examining those situations rather than the legislature itself.