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Educator, legislative staffer running to succeed longtime Eugene lawmaker Paul Holvey

Lisa Fragala, left, and Doyle Canning, right, are running to represent District 8 in the Oregon State Legislature.
Courtesy of Candidates
Lisa Fragala, left, and Doyle Canning, right, are running to represent District 8 in the Oregon State Legislature.

Two Eugene candidates are vying to succeed the longest serving Democrat in the Oregon House.

House District 8 is bordered by the Willamette River and downtown Eugene and stretches south to the edge of Cottage Grove.

Paul Holvey served two decades as a state representative and recently survived a recall effort. In February, he announced he wouldn’t seek another term.

Doyle Canning, an attorney and Lisa Fragala, an educator, are both Democrats who say they're ready to step into Holvey’s shoes.

Canning points to her job as Legislative Director for state Rep. Khanh Pham, D-Portland.

“What's going to make the difference for Eugene in terms of how well we're represented in the Oregon House is if we have a member who knows how to deliver in that building and work through the caucus to make sure we're passing policies that benefit House District 8,” she said. “I am very rooted in Eugene and have shown that I can be effective in Salem”

Fragala points to her work on Eugene’s planning commission and her position on the Lane Community College Board.

“I understand what it means to adopt, create and implement policy around a variety of issues,” she said. “I’ve done that around housing – I’ve implemented housing policy locally. I’ve done that at LCC. I have that experience and I will bring that to Salem and be ready to serve on the first day.”

Fragala, a breast cancer survivor, said the state should be looking for innovative ways to expand healthcare access.

She said the state should increase support for community health centers and regulate private equity investment in Oregon clinics.

Oregon Medical Group has lost dozens of physicians since it was acquired, leaving many without a doctor.

“I know what it means to navigate a healthcare system where there’s limited care to access,” Fragala said. “Where you see front line healthcare workers getting burned out and really overworked and where insurance companies get to make decisions about lifesaving care.”

Canning said she strongly supported Measure 111, which made affordable healthcare a constitutional right.

“The question is now how do we make good on that promise?” she said. “There is a work group in Salem, of which some of the legislators who are supporting me in my race are a part, and Eugene needs a seat at the table.”

She said she will also look for ways to address challenges caused by the turmoil at Oregon Medical Group and the closure of the PeaceHealth University District hospital in Eugene.

Both candidates said they want to boost resources for education and are also focused on environmental issues.

Fragala said she’d like to see a change in how the state manages its forests.

“Right now trees are looked at as timber and their value is looked at as timber,” she said. “I would like to see us adopt policy that recognizes the value of sequestering carbon in Oregon’s forests.”

Canning said she plans to push for investments in public transportation. She also hopes to hold the state accountable to the climate goals it’s already set.

“What we’re seeing is we’re not on track to hit those timelines and targets now,” she said. “We’ve got to move with more deliberate speed and we’ve got to make sure that our agencies, and our cities and counties are prepared, and resourced to do that. We’re getting off of fossil fuels but what we’re not doing fast enough is building clean energy.”

Canning has been endorsed by a slate of current state lawmakers, as well as several prominent environmental activists and organizations. Her biggest financial supporter is the American Federation of Teachers’ Oregon PAC.

Canning has also been the target of attack ads by an outside group that aims to elect moderate Democrats. The organizer of that outside spending group said they targeted Canning because of her previous unsuccessful run against incumbent Rep. Peter DeFazio in the 2020 Democratic primary for U.S. House District 4.

Fragala has the support of several Eugene elected officials including Mayor Lucy Vinis. She also is endorsed by Holvey, who has contributed to her campaign.

Her biggest financial supporter is the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association.

Because there is no Republican in the race, whoever wins the May 21 Democratic primary will be a virtual lock to secure the seat in the general election.

Rebecca Hansen-White joined the KLCC News Department in November, 2023. Her journalism career has included stops at Spokane Public Radio, The Spokesman-Review, and The Columbia Basin Herald.
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