Although they agreed on almost every issue raised during a candidate forum sponsored by The League at Reiche School on May 9th, West End State Representative John Eder and challenger Jon Hinck exchanged angry charges and denials regarding what may be the most important issue – perhaps the only issue in the campaign – the viability of having a third party to promote progressive ideas in the State Legislature.
Eder, the only elected Green Party state legislator in the country, took great exception when Hinck accused him of not doing anything when Democrats nearly lost an important committee chair to a conservative Republican in the last session. Eder denied the charge, saying that he had nothing to do with the committee in question and said that the Democratic leadership considered him to be part of the working majority. He said that he voted his conscience and that he was a Green - not a Democrat who had become an independent.
After Eder said that there should be more political parties and that the two-party system has failed, Hinck described how radically different Portland politics are from the rest of the state, and how Republicans vote against every progressive measure. He then said that he didn’t think that third parties were the answer – that they tear down the better parts of the other two parties.
Aside from that major difference, the two candidates agreed on issues ranging from citizen referendums to toxic waste disposal to single-payer healthcare to immigrant voting rights. At the end of the 40-minute session, the two candidates hugged each other and started distributing their first wave of campaign literature.