Independent Oregon Governor candidate Patrick Starnes said he already has his first 100 days as governor planned out.

His main focus will be campaign finance reform.

Big companies with deep pockets are driving politicians’ decision making, Starnes said. If funding is restricted to a reasonable amount, more people can have a voice in issues.

That’s why Starnes will take donations of no more than $100 per person.

“I need to be a role model,” he said.

In an interview with a Bend TV station, Starnes said, “I’m willing to raise a million dollars (from individuals), but I just don’t want special interest money, or large corporate money, to drown out the little people that are trying to contribute and trying to be heard.”

The candidate, who is from the small town of Brownsville in Linn County, was on his way to Enterprise on Wednesday for a forum when he stopped by The Observer office. He said he’s been on the road doing the first round of introductions across the state to better understand what the issues are.

“(The campaign) is going great,” Starnes said.

Starnes is one of three Independent candidates in the governor race. Starnes is being challenged by Skye Allen and Dan Pistoresi.

He said his background of serving on school boards has led him to vying for the top position in the state.

“I served on school boards for more than 10 years,” Starnes said. “It’s really heartbreaking to fire teachers just because there’s not enough funding to pay them.”

He said issues like funding public education would be better solved when politicians aren’t listening to those with the most money to donate.

See complete story in Friday's Observer

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