Two one-term state legislators battle for Salem-based Senate district

Democrat Deb Patterson, currently a state senator, and Republican Raquel Moore-Green, a House representative, hope to represent Senate District 10

By: - November 3, 2022 5:45 am

Democrat Deb Patterson (left) and Republican Raquel Moore-Green are competing to represent Senate District 10 which includes much of Salem. (Campaign photos)

Two current state legislators are vying to represent a large part of Salem in the state Senate next year. 

Republican House representative and business owner Raquel Moore-Green is challenging the incumbent Democrat Deb Patterson, a Congregational minister, to represent Senate District 10, which includes much of Salem and parts of Marion and Polk counties.

Both candidates were first elected to the state Legislature in 2020 and were promoted to leadership roles: Patterson led the Senate health care committee, and Moore-Green served as vice chair of the House behavioral health care committee. They’ve both pushed legislation to broaden access to health care and both say that if elected, they would address housing and homelessness, a top voter concern according to surveys. U.S. statistics show that about 15,000 people in Oregon lack permanent housing. About 1,300 of them live in Salem, according to the city’s website.

Deb Patterson, Democrat

Name: Deb Patterson

Age: 66

Party: Democrat

Residence: Salem

Profession: Clergy

Funds raised as of Nov. 2, 2022: $1.6 million

Cash on hand as of Nov 2, 2022: $231,000

Key endorsements: Planned Parenthood, Oregon Education Association, Oregon Nurses Association, Service Employees International Union, SEIU, locals 503 and 49, 

Patterson is an ordained clergywoman in the United Church of Christ and has served at a rural Congregational church in the mid-Willamette Valley. Before that, she was the executive director of the International Parish Nurse Resource Center, where she worked with nurses to help people receive care.

In 2020, Patterson won the Senate District 10 race against Republican Denyc Boles by only around 1%. Though a freshman legislator, she became chair of the health care committee in the Senate.

She sponsored two health care bills that passed in 2021, lowering the cost of prescription drugs and curbing anti-competitive behavior in the pharmaceutical drug market. 

Her priorities include affordable health care, funding for K-12 education and scholarships for higher education. If re-elected, she told the Capital Chronicle she’d like to push for affordable housing and services for people who are homeless. She backs the approach used by Project Turnkey. In 2020, the Legislature allocated the first $65 million toward the project, which involves converting old motels and hotels into emergency shelters. Patterson said one successful project is The ARCHES Inn in Salem which opened in late 2021 to provide shelter to 2020 wildfire victims.

“I just think we need to do a whole lot more of what we are doing right now,” she said. “I’d like to continue that.”

Patterson sponsored a bill this past session that would have funded a rental assistance program to help tenants of affordable housing offset rent increases but it didn’t pass. She said she wants to find a way to extend the leases of people in affordable housing so their rents don’t move to market rate as quickly.

Another idea: She has a proposal to allow people to move into transitional housing with their pets. 

“Women, particularly, fleeing domestic violence situations don’t want to leave their dog or their cat behind, so they sometimes stay in an unsafe situation,” she said.

Patterson has health care ideas, too. She said she’d like to bring back a few health care bills that did not pass in previous sessions, including one to help people recover from brain injuries and another requiring insurance coverage for in vitro fertilization.

Like most Democrats, Patterson supports abortion access and noted she was endorsed by Planned Parenthood.

She is working on several legislative bills, including an investment to recruit and retain local health workers to tackle the staffing shortage, she said.

Patterson is also concerned about Oregon State Police funding and whether it is sufficient. This next session, she would like to create a work group to examine its staffing levels and ways to increase recruitment and retention.

“State police staffing levels have been (about) the same for the last 20 years, despite the fact that our population has really increased,” she said.

Patterson said she will introduce legislation to set up a more affordable health insurance option for eligible firefighters and police officers that retire early and are not eligible for Medicare, the federal insurance program for people aged at least 65. Firefighters and police officers usually retire earlier, sometimes when they turn 50.

While the state offers them health insurance through the Public Employees Retirement System, Patterson said monthly premiums can be expensive and require out-of-pocket costs.

“It’s really hard work to be a firefighter or a law enforcement officer,” she said. “If they’ve earned their retirement, I would love to see them be able to continue their health insurance coverage until they can be eligible for Medicare.”

Raquel Moore-Green, Republican

Name: Raquel Moore-Green

Age: 67

Party: Republican

Residence: Salem

Profession: Owner of rmg consulting and Oregon House representative

Funds raised as of Nov 2, 2022: $2 million

Cash on hand as of Nov. 3, 2022: $106,000

Key endorsements: Timber Unity, Sheriffs of Oregon, Oregon Business and Industry and Oregon State Chamber of Commerce

Moore-Green, who owns a consulting business that advises political campaigns and companies, worked for two Salem Republicans, the late Sen. Jackie Winters and Rep. Kevin Cameron before becoming a state lawmaker. In 2019, the Marion County Board of Commissioners appointed Moore-Green to replace Republican Rep. Denyc Boles in Salem-based House District 19 when Boles moved to the state Senate. Moore-Green ran for the seat in 2020, beating Democrat Jackie Leung by 9%.

Her priorities include ensuring access to affordable health care including behavioral health care, support for law enforcement and giving parents input into their children’s education. As vice chair of the House Committee on Behavioral Health, Moore-Green said this year she backed Senate Bill 1529, which requires health insurance plans to reimburse at least three primary care visits, including visits for mental health, per year.

If she won the race, she would serve in a smaller chamber  – the state House has 60 representatives compared with 30 senators – and face an election every four years instead of two for state representatives. As a Republican, she’s at a slight disadvantage: 54% of the electorate in Senate District 10 are registered Democrats compared with 41% for Republicans, according to Dave’s Redistricting. But analysts expect Republicans to pick up some Senate seats in this election.

“I think it’s time that Senate District 10 be represented by someone that holds the same values that our community does, which is education, safe streets and parks and a strong, small business sector,” Moore-Green said.

She cited homelessness and crime as top issues she’d like to tackle. Addressing mental health issues among people on the streets would reduce crime, she said.

But before the Legislature makes new investments in behavioral health care, Moore-Green said it needs to analyze what’s been done with the hundreds of millions of dollars allocated in previous sessions. 

She’s also concerned about a federal ruling that limits the time some patients can stay at Oregon State Hospital. 

“That front door is open, but the back door, there’s no place to send them,” she said. “And that’s a real problem.”

Like many Republicans, she said Measure 110, which voters passed in 2020 and decriminalizes the possession of small amounts of drugs, has not been effective at getting more people into treatment.

She said jail does not promote rehabilitation but she’d like to see an analysis of the impact of Measure 110 to figure out how the state can help addicts while protecting the community. She also has concerns about SB 1510, which passed this year and prevents police from pulling motorists over for a lack of headlights or taillights. Proponents of the bill said it will reduce interactions between police and people of color. 

Moore-Green said it’s a public safety issue.

“We’ve got country roads all around Salem, and they’re dark,” she said. “I would want opposing traffic to have lights on, and that’s one tool that was removed.”

A recent federal ruling limiting the time patients can stay at Oregon State Hospital to receive treatment to be able to defend themselves against criminal charges has created major concerns, Moore-Green said. The hospital needs more beds and more staff, she said.

“That front door is open, but the back door, there’s no place to send them,” she said. “And that’s a real problem.”

This story was developed in collaboration with the Catalyst Journalism Project at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. Catalyst brings together investigative reporting and solutions journalism to spark action and response to Oregon’s most perplexing issues. To learn more visit or follow the project on Twitter @UO_catalyst.

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Alexis Weisend
Alexis Weisend

Alexis Weisend is a senior at the University of Oregon majoring in journalism and political science. Previously, she has worked as a Snowden intern for the Astorian. In her free time, she likes cooking and reading historical fiction.”