Dudley, the former Trail Blazer and current Republican nominee for the Oregon governor's chair, began his statewide tour of businesses small and large early Wednesday in Portland and ended in Medford just after 3 p.m.
MEDFORD — A day after Oregon voters awarded him a shot at going one-on-one with John Kitzhaber in the fall, Chris Dudley dropped by the Boise Cascade plant in Medford on Wednesday for a quick tour.
Dudley, the former Trail Blazer and current Republican nominee for the Oregon governor's chair, began his statewide tour of businesses small and large early Wednesday in Portland and ended in Medford just after 3 p.m. "We got up at 8 to get going, so it wasn't too bad," Dudley said. "Last night was a late one, though."
Dudley, a Republican, will take on Kitzhaber in November in a governor's race that already has been covered by both CNN and ESPN.
He defeated businessman Allen Alley in the GOP primary, drawing about 39 percent of the votes in the nine-man field. Alley received about 32 percent of the votes statewide.
In Jackson County, Dudley captured about 33 percent of the vote, with Alley running second with about 30 percent.
Dudley, 45, arrived at Boise Cascade in a large brown van decorated with his campaign stickers. He was joined by a handful of local Republican politicians, including Rep. Sal Esquivel of Medford.
As the new kid on the political block, Dudley said, he was pleased by Tuesday's elections across the country in which a swath of incumbents were defeated. He said he hopes voters remember that Kitzhaber has had his time in office.
"I think voters feel unhappy with the status quo," Dudley said. "(Kitzhaber) was first elected to office when Jimmy Carter was president. ... It's time to go in a different direction."
Dudley said he and Kitzhaber differ in many respects, including how to manage Oregon's natural resources and effective ways to create jobs that will allow the state to climb out of its economic slump.
"Government doesn't create jobs itself," he said. "It helps create an environment in which they can be created."
One way to do that is get the timber industry up and running at full strength, Dudley said.
"Timber is one of the state's biggest assets," he said. "We need to tap into these natural resources that are already here."
After briefly meeting with the press, Dudley donned a large neon orange safety jacket, which barely covered his 6-foot, 11-inch frame, and accompanied Boise Cascade executives on a tour of the plant.
Dudley built his name recognition in Oregon during a 16-year NBA career that included a lengthy stop with the Portland Trail Blazers.
"I spoke with a New York Knicks trainer last night and he said I'm the talk of the league," Dudley said. "Oh, well, me and LeBron (James) of course."
In addition to his professional basketball career, Dudley founded the Dudley Foundation, which is dedicated to children with diabetes. He was the senior vice president at M Financial and now is a partner in a small financial services company based in Oregon.
Dudley conducted several tours throughout the day, including the Facebook construction site in Prineville and the Butte Creek Mill in Eagle Point.
Chris Conrad is a reporter for the Mail Tribune. Reach him at 541-776-4471; or e-mail email@example.com.