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Wheat leader seeks to represent Klamath

Scronce wants to create solutions that benefit all sides

Capital Press

March 25, 2010

Karl Scronce, immediate past president of the National Association of Wheat Growers and a current board member of Oregonians for Food and Shelter, has talked often with politicians in recent years.

Now he is seeking a seat on the other side of the table.

Scronce is running against five-term incumbent Bill Garrard, R-Klamath Falls, in the May 18 primary to represent House District 56.

Following is an excerpt from a Capital Press interview with Scronce.

Q: First off, why are you doing this?

A: I've always had an interest in politics and I always had a dream of doing something like this someday. I guess in my mind I felt like an opportunity was there.

Q: Do you think you can make a difference in Salem?

A: I think I'm still young enough (at 50), and I feel like I'm open to different ideas. I'm not set in my ways to the extent I wouldn't be receptive to lots of ideas. And with the political situation the way it is in Oregon -- with it being a pretty Blue state -- I think I could work with people who think differently than I do and come up with solutions that might benefit both sides.

Q: Did your recent involvement in the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement help motivate you to run?

A: I think that was a big motivator. If we were getting a lot of good support from our state representative, I would have never considered doing this.

Q: Are you unhappy with Rep. Garrard's approach to the KBRA?

A: I don't think he was as open-minded as I think he should have been. And why he chose to be the way he was, I don't know.

Q: What's your farming situation?

A: Two years ago I sold my farm and started renting a farm. Right now I'm farming on a year-to-year basis.

Q: Rep. Garrard seems pretty secure in his position down there. Do you think you have a chance of unseating him?

A: I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't think I had a chance. And I think because of my background in agriculture, I could be a champion for this area and its natural resource-based economy, its recreation and its business.

We're hurting down here. We have over 12 percent unemployment. It's shocking to me how many small businesses are closing their doors.

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