Barney Spera fulfilled his dream of owning a mansion with a million-dollar view and now he's set his political sights on Capitol Hill.
The 83-year-old Ashland resident, who gained some local notoriety for buying a $1.43 million home at an auction in 2008, is running on the Democratic ticket for the seat now held by Congressman Greg Walden, R-Hood River.
"I'm trying to send a message to him," Spera said. "I think he should be a better leader and pay attention to his constituents and not to special interests."
Spera, who was formerly mayor of Millbrae, Calif., is running in the May 20 Democratic primary against Aelea Christofferson of Bend and C.F. "Frank" Vulliet of Sunriver.
In the Republican primary, Walden is running against Dennis B. Linthicum of Beatty.
Spera said that when Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, was trashing the Affordable Care Act during the federal government shutdown last October, he was looking for leadership from Walden to offer a better solution.
When Walden recently denounced raising the minimum wage, he decided he needed to act.
"I got so damn mad I jumped up and decided to run," he said. "People are barely making paycheck to paycheck and Walden was saying that some time in the future they'd get a good job and a good wage. That didn't make any sense."
— Damian Mann