Barnhart to Reveal Plans for Candidacy
Byline: DAVID STEVES The Register-Guard
State Rep. Phil Barnhart will announce today his plans to run for re-election in a newly formed district that includes part of his south Eugene neighborhood, along with rural areas that have been in a colleague's district.
Barnhart's candidacy in House District 11 sets up a potential showdown with fellow Rep. Al King, D-Springfield. King has been assigned to represent the district, but since both he and Barnhart live within its borders because of redistricting, the two are equally eligible to seek election to it next year.
Barnhart said the possibility that he would go up against a fellow House Democrat wasn't a factor in his decision.
"The issue really is how can I be of service to the people of Oregon," said the first-term lawmaker. He will formally announce his candidacy at 11:15 a.m. at Coburg Elementary School.
Barnhart, a psychologist and former Eugene School Board member, said his passion for children's issues was the biggest reason he decided to seek a second two-year term.
"The main issue for me has to do with adequately supporting our kids, and of course that means mostly the public schools," Barnhart said.
He vowed to ensure that schools are funded adequately to keep class sizes from growing. With a special session coming up early next year to deal with an estimated $720 million shortfall in state revenue, Barnhart said he is "not going to vote for anything that balances the budget on the backs of our kids."
Barnhart said he wanted to continue working for improvements to health and welfare programs such as prescription drug coverage for the elderly. …