A Rising Star in Medford: Kevin Stine throws his hat into the U.S. Senate race
Young, ambitious, and focused, Medford City Councilman Kevin Stine takes a moment to sit down with the Rogue Valley Messenger and tell us why he’s not your average local politician—and also to provide his perspectives on the past year and what to expect from Medford City Council in 2016.
Rogue Valley Messenger: What issues do you believe are most important for the 2016 agenda?
Kevin Stine: The urban growth boundary is the most important issue we will address. It’s a very inside baseball issue which will expand the city’s borders, but one that will resonate for years to come.
RVM: What issues do you hope to bring to the agenda?
KS: I want to see an area for the homeless. One that can give safe shelter, basic sanitary needs, and a platform to get back into the workforce and self-sufficiency.
RVM: What are you most proud about for the 2015 accomplishments?
I brought an idea to bring better technology into the Medford Room, in which we have study sessions in. Staff looked into it and brought forward an idea that was farther reaching then I was thinking of, and we now have capabilities to do video conferences and community outreach in the future.
RVM: What most frustrated about what wasn’t accomplished in 2015?
KS: Marijuana issues aside, I would have liked to see us get an ordinance to mitigate the homes in the city that have been vacant and beyond repair, that are being used for nefarious activity. We should have something addressing this in 2016.
RVM: After serving three full terms in the Navy, what sparked your interest in public politics?
Kevin Stine: I’ve always enjoyed politics (even though) I came from a very apolitical family. I’ve had an interest in politics once in my adult years and followed the 2008 election very closely.
Around 2012, I decided it was time to leave the military. My wife and I were trying to decide where to go and I managed to convince her to move here. A week after moving to Medford in December of 2013, I started going to City Council meetings. I wanted to be involved in local government and see what was going on in my community. I happened to meet Councilman Nick Gordon in the elevator before my first meeting. It happened to be that the city councilman for the ward we moved into wasn’t running again, so Nick Gordon encouraged me to go for it.
RVM: What’s the thing you’re most proud of during this first year on the City Council?
KS: Of course, everything is a team effort. One of the biggest things is the marijuana issues. A lot has been discussed about business licenses to dispensaries and grow ordinances or bans since 2014, before I was on the council, and now it’s been decided to put the vote to the people. I voted for this because it’s a compromise measure. Even if I don’t personally agree with recreational marijuana, the best option is to find regulations, not just bans.
RVM: You recently announced that you’ll be running for Senate against Senator Ron Wyden. What’s going to make you stand out next year during the election?
KS: I represent the poor working and middle class. I never met my father and my mother worked in a minute market when we were living here when I was kid. We were the family that didn’t answer the phone when it rang and didn’t answer the door when someone knocked. I care about the poor, middle, and lower class because that’s who I am. That’s who I’m friends with and what I want to represent.
At last check, Wyden had 6.5 million dollars in campaign funds. If a candidate doesn’t have millions of dollars, how can they compete with that? I’m working with a guy and making small mom and pop shop videos and hope it catches on. I find supporters through social media; people that don’t like the Trans Pacific Partnership, the Medicare roll backs that Wyden proposed, and the tax measures that he’s been for.
Is it going to be a successful fight? Maybe not. I’m putting both time and money in this by calling people and connecting through social media every day. I’m trying to find those like minded people that will tell their friends and so on. I’ve got less than five months until the election. I’m going to get as many votes as I can and move on from there.
RVM: You’re on the Medford City Council, you and your wife Casey are raising a young daughter, you’re running for Senate, and you’re continuing your education at Southern Oregon University. How do you keep everything balanced?
KS: I was in the military for 9 ½ years, I like being busy. I hate to say YOLO so I’ll put it this way; One of my favorite quotes is “There’s no greater sadness in life than unfilled potential.” I don’t know where I’ll be X amount of years from now but I know right now that I have a good story to tell and I care about what I’m trying to do. I’m not fearful of failure, I’m fearful of not trying.