Dave Dotterrer, a retired Marine colonel and political newcomer, is seeking the Republican nomination for the state Senate seat now held by Senator Alan Bates.

Dave Dotterrer, a retired Marine colonel and political newcomer, is seeking the Republican nomination for the state Senate seat now held by Sen. Alan Bates, D-Ashland.

Dotterrer, a 58-year-old Ashland resident and a consultant who works with the Defense Department, said Salem needs new leadership to rein in a state budget that is spiraling out of control.

"It has become clear that we have a state Legislature that is abdicating its fiscal responsibility," Dotterrer said.

Dotterrer is the only Republican candidate to file so far in the May 18 primary for the Senate seat. Bates has already filed his candidacy papers.

As someone who has been on the government payroll for 27 years, Dotterrer said he is not opposed to government, or government services, which he said are needed during a recession.

He said he is, however, opposed to creating government programs that are not sustainable and will only encourage more taxation to support.

"I believe our government has limited but legitimate responsibilities," he said.

After looking at state budget projections, Dotterrer said the financial prospects for Oregon are bleak, as revenues will not be able to support existing government programs. Once federal stimulus dollars dry up, he said, the state will face a significant shortfall.

Although he has never run for a political office, Dotterrer said he brings extensive experience in government in his bid for the Senate seat.

He commanded six different Marine Corps units, ranging in size from 40 to 1,200 troops, commanded the Marine Barracks in Washington, D.C., and dealt with a $50 million budget. He participated in military strategic planning at the national level, served as an executive assistant to the secretary of the Navy and has extensive education in military history and business administration.

Dotterrer is currently a member of the Ashland Planning Commission.

After spending time in Salem reviewing the political process, Dotterrer said he doesn't see any challenge that would be more difficult than those he's faced in his military career.

Dotterrer said the only way to pull Oregon out of the recession is for government to give businesses the flexibility to prosper. He opposed Measure 66 and 67, which raised taxes on corporations and wealthier residents and were approved by voters in January.

Dotterrer said he will challenge Bates on positions the senator has taken, but will wait until later in the campaign when he has a chance to debate the incumbent.

"I don't view myself as running against Alan Bates," he said. "I see myself as running for state Legislature."

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune.com.