Summerville’s Skye Farnam is challenging incumbent Greg Barreto for the seat of House Representative of District 58. At the Union County Forum Monday night, Farnam said there needs to be Independent candidates to make party politicians uncomfortable.

Farnam, who is running as the Independent candidate, said running as a third party is a strength because his views are not limited by party doctrine, which is largely responsible for the culture war politics finds itself in now.

“Right now (Independents) don’t have any sitting officials (in the state),” Farnam said. However, he added, the party’s platform favors education, health care, security and campaign finance reform.

Those are all topics voters from both sides can get behind, he said.

Barreto, who had a prior engagement and could not attend the forum, is running as the Republican candidate and write-in candidate for the Democrats.

According to Union County Clerk Robin Church, that means no Democratic candidate filed for District 58 and Barreto won the write-in in the primary election.

Farnam said he is a proud father and local patriot. He’s a landscape contractor — not a career politician.

“I’m a ‘What would Jesus do’ type of Christian,” he said. “I’m running because of the elephant in the room — because of the divided nation. To hear the candidates tonight talk so civil and sensible to each other is a breath of fresh air.”

Farnam’s main point was that a rift divides the Republicans and Democrats and it’s important that it is fixed.

“The political conversation seems to pit the Democrats against the Republicans,” he said. “The message is the Republicans are trying to save your money, and the Democrats are trying to spend it. We all have money we’d like to keep, though, and we need the services that cost money.”

The Summerville resident said services like mental health court, which was brought up by another candidate earlier in the night, is a great idea but costs money.

“How do we achieve the services we want and bring in the revenue?” he posed. “I’ve gone to these forums and (candidates) are hoping the state will kick some money down. When you go to the politicians at the state levels, they want to talk about anything else but raising money.”

He said, if elected, he’d look forward to campaign finance legislation and talking more about raising money for the communities.

In Barreto’s written submission, he said he ran for this position in 2014 because he wanted to attract and retain jobs.

“Oregon’s growth rate of government spending is very alarming,” according to the written piece. “Since 1980, Oregon’s government spending has gone from $7 billion per biennium to over $70 billion per biennium, twice the rate of inflation, and twice as fast as our population growth. In the last six years, Oregon’s general fund has grown by 31 percent, and even with this kind of revenue growth the majority party in the legislature has decided to tax even more, the smallest of businesses in the state. If the state of Oregon cannot control its spending and prepare for future expenses that are looming before us, we are in for a very rough ride.”

His piece continued by stating the majority party for the state rules the senate and the job of Republicans, as the minority party, is to get into the majority so “we can implement opportunity for all Oregonians.”

“The only way that happens is if all conservatives vote, educate their moderate Democrat friends and neighbors of the direction our state is headed with the current elected leadership we have had in Salem. Oregon cannot sustain the spending and regulation path it’s on. My hope for Oregon is that voters get educated and vote accordingly.”