Cliff Bentz is a third generation Oregonian, raised on his family’s cattle ranches in Harney County. He attended Whitehorse Ranch and Pine Creek Grade Schools. At age 14, he was sent to live with an aunt and uncle so that he could attend Regis High School (a Catholic parochial school) near Salem, Oregon. While at Regis he lettered in basketball and track, served as ASB president and as a delegate to Boy’s State. Following graduation from high school, he attended and graduated cum laude from Eastern Oregon State College. While in college, he served as ASB president, as a student member of various student activity committees, and was a member of the honors program. Following college, he attended and graduated with a juris doctorate from Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland. He joined the Yturri, O’Kief, Rose and Burnham law firm in Ontario in 1977 and became a partner four years later. He continues to practice part-time specializing in ranch reorganizations and water law. He is a member of the Oregon and Idaho Bar Associations.
While practicing law in Ontario, Cliff Bentz also served eight years as a member and then chair of the Oregon Water Resources Commission, as a director and chair of the Ontario 8C public school board, as a board member and vice-chair of Project Dove, a domestic violence prevention organization, as a member and chair of the St. Peter Catholic grade school board, as a member of the Eastern Oregon Foundation Board, and as a member of the Oregon Historical Society Board. He also participated for over twenty years as a member of the Blessed Sacrament Parish folk mass group.
In 1987, Cliff Bentz married Dr. Lindsay Norman, a veterinarian. Lindsay practices small animal medicine in Ontario. They have two children, Allison Bentz Klebenow and Scott Bentz.
In January of 2008, Cliff Bentz was appointed to the House District 60 seat and later that year was elected to his first of five two year terms as Oregon State Representative. He resigned from the House in 2018 when appointed to take Senator Ferrioli’s Oregon Senate District 30 seat. While in the House, he served on the Revenue, Transportation, Energy and Environment, Legislative Counsel, and joint tax credits committees, and as a member and chair of the Legislative Council on River governance, the Oregon Hunger Task Force, and other committees and work groups. While in the Senate, he served on the Finance and Revenue, Judiciary, Energy, and tax credits committees among others. He resigned from the Oregon Senate effective January 2nd, 2020, to campaign full time for the Oregon Congressional District 2 seat now held by Congressman Greg Walden.
America is not just a country; it is an idea. A very successful idea that no one else in the world has been able to duplicate. Under President Trump’s leadership, the possibilities for our country’s future have expanded quickly and dramatically. We, the people of this United States of America, will continue to achieve.
As the next Congressman for CD 2, I will go to Washington DC to do all I can to help this wonderful part of Oregon achieve those endless possibilities.
The Second Amendment
I have always supported and voted to protect our Second Amendment rights. It doesn’t matter whether you are working on a ranch or strolling through downtown Portland, you have the right to defend yourself. I have my concealed carry permit and I am a member of the NRA.
I was raised on a ranch where guns were in use almost every day. We carried either an 30-06 or a 243 in our various pickups. We each had our own handguns. I had and still have my 357 Ruger single six which I bought in 1969. I have a Glock 19 9mm Luger, a Winchester 30-30, a Winchester 22, a rolling block single shot Remington 22, and several other long guns.
I have voted repeatedly, in the Oregon Legislature, to protect our 2nd Amendment rights, and I was one of the “Oregon 11” who walked out of the Oregon Senate in May of 2019 to stop Senate Bill 978, an overreaching and unconstitutional gun control bill brought by liberal Portland Democrats. If you recall, SB 978, among other right damaging provisions, would have imposed strict liability on the gun owner for all damages arising from the use of his/her gun stolen and then used for a crime.
Although I was an avid hunter in my early years, the time it takes to operate my business, my farm, and my legislative office have made it impossible to take the time to hunt. Throughout the years, I have joined my son, an avid gun enthusiast, to target shoot. I have no idea how many ground squirrels and jack rabbits and snakes I have hunted over the years.
I lease a commercial building here in Ontario to the Outdoorsman, an outdoor and firearm sales retail business. I enjoy visiting with the owner about the guns she has on hand and the ebb and flow of the firearm business. I have been fortunate to have the owner assist me in analyzing some of the more complex firearm issues that have come up over the years in the Oregon legislature.
The Second Amendment is essential to American life. It is essential to our ability to defend ourselves. I will stand up for it always.
Cap and Trade
In the 2019 Legislative session I helped lead two Senate Republican walkouts. The first was to stop an unconstitutional infringement upon our Second Amendment rights, a multibillion-dollar gross receipts tax, and a completely partisan carbon pricing bill. We returned to Salem when the Democrats agreed to kill both their unconstitutional gun bill, and their mandatory vaccination bill, and to allow a “reset” of the carbon pricing discussions.
Sadly, the Senate Democrats did not allow any “reset” of the Carbon discussions whatsoever, and thus failed utterly to fulfill their part of the agreement. Although I was allowed to come back into the room where the Democrats were designing HB 2020, (after having been kept out for five months) not a thing worth mentioning came from my repeated attempts to bring some sense of bipartisan rationality to the carbon discussions.
My Democrat colleagues made it abundantly clear that no “reset” of any kind was going happen, despite their promise that if we returned from our first walkout, a reset would be negotiated. Thus, we walked out a second time and by doing so killed HB 2020.
This short 2020 February legislative session began contentiously because the Democrats immediately brought back Cap & “Tax” in the form of SB 1530. The Republicans made one simple request: Let the people vote on SB 1530. But the supermajority Democrats did not want their cap and trade “stealth tax” on gas and diesel and natural gas to go to the people for a vote. They knew it would go down in flames.
The Democrats made meaningless and insignificant concessions in the hope that they could placate their Republican colleagues. But the bill retained its most damaging feature: top down and total government control of the price of all of Oregon’s energy. At the same time the supermajority moved bipartisan bills to the back burner to hold hostage, hoping to force the Republicans to cave. Neither side gave in. So, the Republicans once again, faced with ceding control of Oregon’s economic future to faceless bureaucrats had no choice but to walk out.
By walking out a third time the Republicans once again killed cap and trade and by so doing saved rural and all working Oregonians from the Democrat’s plan to place control of our energy costs in the hands of those whose primary motive and guiding purpose is to drive up its cost, with no regard to the impact on our economy.
This simply could not be allowed to happen. Knowing this, the Republicans stood up, just as I did eight months ago, and walked out, for CD2 and all rural districts and everyone else who believes that a capitalistic economic system is better than what the Democrats want: a socialistic “command and control” system.
Once again, the walkout worked, and cap and tax has not become the law of Oregon. Thank you, my Republican colleagues! Be assured that I will do all that I can in Washington DC to help you stop the misguided and economy wreaking plan that was HB 1530. But stay strong. The Democrats plan to force Cap & Tax on Oregonians is not going away.
Statement on Governor Kate Brown’s Executive Order
Kate Brown is determined to make energy costs unstainable for working, rural and fixed income Oregonians. This became abundantly clear with her Executive Order on Climate Change. In the words of my friend and colleague Senator Herman Baertshiger “It’s obvious Kate Brown is not Oregon’s Governor; she is Portland’s Governor.”
Governor Brown’s executive order strikes a blow to fixed & low-income families by demanding we have the strictest green energy building codes and appliance efficiency in the country. This will make a mockery of her claim to support affordable housing for our homeless and veterans.
The Order includes a doubling of Oregon’s “Clean Fuel Standard”, meaning our prices at the pump paid for additional low carbon fuel additives (such as palm oil) are guaranteed to increase even more. Governor Brown knows that her actions will harm farmers and ranchers by raising their cost of field work, transportation to the farm and ranch of inputs and ultimately getting products to market. When the Low Carbon Fuel Standard was originally passed five years ago, the DEQ made it no secret it would raise fuel prices, (it’s estimate was around 22 cents per gallon in the last year of the ten year program) now our governor has ordered that this standard be doubled.
Over the last several years Governor Brown, Speaker Kotek and President Courtney were presented with any number of alternatives that would have achieved carbon reduction without sacrificing Oregon economy while doing so. Time and time again they chose instead to follow instructions from Tom Stier funded far left Portland environmental interest groups
Ultimately, Governor Brown has decided that she doesn’t need legislative approval to force up the price of all of the fuel and energy used in Oregon. We now have a top down completely autocratic approach to the pricing of our energy supply. Under the cover of halting climate change, our governor has handed the economic future of Oregon over to unelected bureaucrats who answer only to her.
We can only hope that the Governor’s actions will be challenged in the courts and that in November we will elect common sense legislators who will push back against the Portland leftist agenda.
President Trump continues to lead our country in the right economic direction. Unfortunately, the Corona Virus is laying waste to three years of unprecedented economic prosperity.
Wages were rising. Unemployment was at a record low. The stock market was at an all-time high. 487,000 manufacturing jobs had been created since Trump took office three years ago. The number of job openings had outnumbered the number of unemployed workers to fill them by the widest gap ever.
Oregon’s “surprising” revenue increase is a direct and obvious consequence of President Trump’s economic policies. Reduced regulation, lower taxes, new trade deals, and the President’s consistent and frequent optimistic remarks about the economy were all encouraging growth in economic activity and thus in tax revenues.
The last thing the Democratic super majority in Oregon wanted to acknowledge was that President Trump’s policies were actually working. Now that we are faced with an economic slowdown caused by the virus, we must do all that we can to support the President as he and his team of medical and economic experts fight to halt the virus and preserve our economy.
I am asking you to support me in my campaign to be your Congressman. I am looking forward to joining President Trump in Washington DC next year to help advance a pro-job, pro Oregon, pro-America agenda, while rebuilding our damaged economy.
I have spent my entire life as a rancher, farmer, attorney and state legislator fighting for and supporting the wise and actual use of Oregon’s lands and water, so I applaud President Trump’s plan to update the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
NEPA is a litigation nightmare and time sink for many projects involving federal funding. To quote the President, when talking about how long it takes to get a permit to build, “that’s big government at its absolute worst.”
Hopefully, the President’s overhaul of these rules will speed up the NEPA review process and allow road improvements, fire prevention activities, timber sales, and land and water management to actually happen. The President’s plan will ensure improved and increased local input and save taxpayer dollars by streamlining government bureaucracy and inefficiency while still safeguarding the environment. The President’s action to speed up these litigation bound processes will help move activities across all of Oregon forward. What the President has done has been many times talked about, but never, until now, has someone actually stepped up and taken action. The President deserves great credit for actually addressing this important issue.
I strongly support his efforts and look forward to working with him in the implementation of this update should I become your next Congressman.
Fire & Federal Forest Management
It is time our federal government is held accountable for its gross mismanagement of our federal forests and the horrific fires that result from such mismanagement. Each year Oregonians are choked by smoke and their communities and lives are threatened by fire.
The fires that start on private forestlands are quickly extinguished while the fires on public land are not put out immediately and they grow rapidly out of control. Waiting for bureaucrats in Washington DC to fight fires in Oregon has not been a successful model.
Likewise, the government is held hostage by the threat of litigation funded by the infamous
“Equal Access to Justice Act” which prompts attorneys to engage in the litigation lottery where winning against the government means a huge taxpayer funded plaintiff’s attorney payday.
Finally, we need to get back into the woods to log and remove massive amounts of timber both for the economic survival of local economies of Oregon and for the safety of the timber communities that are otherwise in real danger of burning up when the huge and ever-growing stockpiles of wood that surround them catch fire.
As your next Congressman in CD 2, I promise to advocate for sustainable and responsible management in our Federal Forests. We need approaches that reduce fuel loads, enhance salvage logging and practice sustained yield harvests. And we must support our O & C Counties, and to do all of this we must get rid of or dramatically change the Equal Access to Justice Act.
I strongly oppose government run healthcare. Estimates show that the democrat’s proposal of a single payer healthcare system would cost over $30 trillion. I believe Obamacare should be replaced with solutions that focus on free market principles to help drive down the skyrocketing cost of healthcare. I will support efforts in Congress to promote healthcare reforms that lower premiums and overall healthcare costs, improve quality care, protect the doctor patient relationship, increase much needed transparency and create more choices for consumers of healthcare.
Some specific solutions I support are: medical malpractice reform that stops frivolous lawsuits and provides patient safety, allowing individuals and small businesses to join to together to purchase group insurance plans like large businesses and allowing consumers to buy health insurance plans across state lines to increase competition and lower costs, and assurance that whatever we do, pre-existing conditions are covered. Healthcare is a complex and extremely large problem. A problem that exceeds three trillion dollars annually cannot be solved in a single paragraph, but the ideas set forth here can be part of the solution.
I am a right to life candidate. By “right to life” I mean that I believe that life begins at conception and that life should be protected until death by natural causes occurs. The only exception to the prohibition against abortion that I support is when the life of the mother is at risk.
I did not support the assisted suicide law. I helped lead the Oregon Senate Republican opposition to the change in Oregon law passed in 2019 to reduce the waiting period for assisted suicide from 15 days to one day. I led the opposition in the Oregon Senate against life damaging changes to Oregon’s Power of Attorney for health care law. I do not support the harvest of stem cells from embryos.
I am one of seven children. I have an older sister and five younger brothers. Yes, I am a Catholic. I was sent by my parents to attend Regis High School, a Catholic parochial school, near Salem.
I was a member and chair of the St Peter Catholic grade school board for five years. I was a member of the Catholic folk mass groups in college, law school, and currently at Blessed Sacrament Church in Ontario for at least 20 years.
My wife and I have two adopted children. One of my brothers is a Jesuit Priest. My niece, Nicole Bentz, is the regional coordinator for Students for Life of America. My cousin Dr. Charles Bentz is a leader in protecting Oregon’s elderly.
I received the Gayle Atteberry award as a defender of life in July of 2019. I voted repeatedly to protect life joining my fellow right to life legislators in Oregon’s legislature from 2008 until 2020 when I resigned to run for Congress.
I would vote to reverse Roe v. Wade were I on the Supreme Court.
If I am elected to fill Congressman Greg Walden’s Second Congressional District seat, I will continue to be an advocate for the unborn and I will continue the fight for our most vulnerable in Washington DC.
Reduce Regulation, Lower Taxes
I will work in Congress – just as I did in the state senate – to strengthen our economy by directing investments toward rural Oregon, reducing regulations, lowering taxes and supporting President Trump’s policies that make our economy even stronger. I was one of the eleven Republican Senators that walked out of the senate to deny the Democrats a quorum so that the Gross Receipts Tax might be stopped. We were unsuccessful in stopping that tax, but we did call out the incredible damage it could do in an economic downturn. And now we are in that downturn. That tax makes it even more difficult for small business to survive.
Secure our Borders
I will join President Trump in stopping illegal immigration by improving border security and by building/completing the wall. Of course, we need to address and reform immigration. But any conversation about immigration must start by addressing how we are going to stop those that are coming into the country illegally.
The United States-Mexico-Canada agreement (USMCA) will not only benefit our local beef, onion & wheat producers it will also hopefully bring some much-needed economic relief to America’s dairy farmers. Between China and USMCA trade agreements, our agricultural economy should reap the benefits sooner rather than later.
President Trump’s trade agreement with China is excellent news not only for our farmers and ranchers, but all Americans.
Over the next two years, China will purchase $32 Billion of US Agriculture products. Ninety percent of Oregon wheat is exported, the majority of that grown in Eastern Oregon. Overall, 80% of Oregon Agricultural products leave the state and 40% of those are exported. This first phase of a trade deal with China helps to ensure fairness and more free trade with one of our biggest trading partners.
During my eight years on the Oregon Water Resource commission, time after time, I spoke up and defended farmers’ and ranchers’ use of water. During my twelve years in the legislature, I did the same thing, time after time, stepping up to speak out against bills that would have seriously damaged our ability to use and store water. As a result, I have received the Oregon Farm Bureau‘s and Oregon Cattlemen’s Association‘s endorsement over and over again.
As your congressman, I will continue to do all that I can to protect and defend Farmers’ and Ranchers’ use of water and the ownership and priority of water rights.
As President Trump stated, “If we want America to thrive and grow then we must ensure America’s farms flourish and prosper. You feed our people, you fuel our nation, you sustain our land, uphold our values and you preserve our cherished American way of life. We want our products made, grown and raised here in the USA.”
OVER REGULATION OF WATER
I fought for years against the infamous “WOTUS” rule that, until President Trump’s common sense rule making came along, held that the water that might be found in a cow track or mud puddle was considered part of the “Waters of the United States” and thus subject to regulation under the Clean Water Act. The Trump administration had directed the EPA to redo these rules and in fact has “ditched the rule” from the previous administration.
The EPA’s new rule will exclude most roadside and farm ditches, groundwater, farm and stock watering ponds and water bodies that form only when it rains. This is a victory for common sense, Oregon and the American people!
As a rancher, country lawyer and State Senator, I have fought my entire life to protect the water rights of rural Oregon farmers and ranchers. If you send me to congress, I will continue to fight for common sense rulemaking in our federal agencies.
Oregon Governor Kate Brown is 100% wrong in asking for removal of the four lower snake river dams. What’s next– the Governor supporting removal of all of our hydro and water storage facilities? The Governor’s position is not one for all Oregonians, but as usual, an agenda for the Portland and California based radical environmentalists.
As we know in CD 2, the Pacific Northwest’s intricate dam system is vital to the survival of our communities, our livelihoods and the transportation of our crops. We are making continued advancements that protect and help the fish, particularly salmon, which are part of this ecosystem.
If the Governor truly wants to help, I suggest she assist with the permanent removal of the hundreds of California sea lions camped out in the Columbia River just below the dams. These sea lions destroy thousands upon thousands of fish. Or how about the thousands of cormorants (a large diving bird with a voracious appetite for fish) that lurk at the mouth of the Columbia gobbling up millions of small salmon each year. It is estimated that these birds eat eleven million juvenile salmon annually—about 18% of all of the young salmon trying to make their way to the ocean.
As a society we must balance the economic & environmental priorities, but not at the expense of entire communities. The benefits these four dams provide include rural jobs by the hundreds and the 1,000+ megawatts of green power generated by these four dams. Removal would be devastating to those who depend on the energy, water and transportation provided by these dams.
As your next congressman for CD 2, I vow to protect and fight in Washington DC for these four dams and the hundreds of other dams that our communities, economies and environment depend upon.
IRRIGATION AND WATER STORAGE
I served on the Oregon Water Resources Commission for eight years. I served in the Oregon legislature on water related committees during all twelve years I was in Salem. I was able to help pass legislation that provided tens of millions of dollars for water storage. I stopped many bad water bills from passing. Such bad legislation included a water use fee based upon water rights and equally bad legislation designed to remove protections for your water right when you wanted to use the water transfer statutes.
I have worked closely with the Oregon Farm Bureau, the Oregon Water Congress, Water for Life, the Cattleman’s Association and the Oregon Association of Nurseries to protect and advance Agriculture’s water use and protection. I know that the most important thing for a farmer or a rancher or anyone for that matter is that there be certainty when it comes to having water. Without certainty, no one can take the risk of planting a crop. No one can take the risk of turning out their cattle. No one can grow an orchard or contract to forward sell a crop.
Water storage in times of shortage is absolutely essential. Having the means to conserve is essential. Having water laws appropriately enforced is essential. Being able to fund the replacement of aging dams and pipelines is essential. Protecting agriculture from litigation brought by environmental zealots is essential.
I have worked to protect Eastern Oregon from these challenges, and many others, over the past thirty years so I have a very clear understanding of how to defend us against those who would steal out water. If you choose to send me to Washington DC, I will use my years of experience and do all that I can to protect our water.
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