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GOP candidate Buehler shows up at appearance by Democratic Gov. Brown in Eugene

Gov. Kate Brown (left) appeared in Eugene to proclaim May as Foster Care Month. Rep. Knute Buehler, a frontrunner for the GOP nomination for governor, showed up at the event, too. (Still photos from video)

EUGENE, Ore. - A candidate for the GOP gubernatorial nomination criticized by a Democratic group for his "conspicuous absence from the campaign trail" showed up at an appearance by the Democratic incumbent Tuesday "to challenge her record of leadership in solving the state’s Foster Care crisis."

The Democrat - Gov. Kate Brown - made an appearance in Eugene to proclaim May as Foster Care Month. Brown highlighted Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) volunteers as a way Oregonians can help.

"We are so fortunate in Oregon to have so many, like CASAs, who devote themselves to creating safe, nurturing environments that enable our children to thrive," Brown said, according to a statement from CASA of Lane County. "Yet, the rapid growth of children in foster care means that progress in their care is outpaced by the stresses that substance use, housing instability, behavioral health issues, and domestic violence have put on Oregon’s families. We can support caseworkers and families in Oregon’s foster care system by tackling these root causes."

Rep. Knute Buehler, a candidate on the May 15 ballot for the GOP nomination for governor, showed up at the event "to challenge her record of leadership in solving the state’s Foster Care crisis," according to his campaign.

“Oregon’s Foster children, families and caseworkers need more leadership, more accountability and more resources – not more photo ops and proclamations. I will lead where Kate Brown has failed,” Buehler said in a statement.

Buehler's campaign points to a state audit on problems in child welfare programs. The Republican from Central Oregon said he called on Brown and other legislators to support $50 million in new funding to help fix the programs.

Brown and the Legislature acted to boost funding by $15 million to hire more caseworkers.

“Governor Brown owes these kids and their families an apology and she needs to accept greater responsibility for fixing this tragedy of negligence, mismanagement and incompetence," Buehler said in a statement.

The appearance of two of the leading candidates for Oregon governor in Eugene came just hours after the Democratic Governors Association issued a press release titled "Knute Buehler's Day Off". The press release included stills from the movie "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" with Buehler's face superimposed over that of actor Matthew Broderick in the tite role from the 1986 John Hughes film.

"Buehler’s lack of a public schedule begs the question: what exactly has he been doing while hiding from the campaign trail?" the DGA said in the statement. "While he claims he hasn’t been watching movies, perhaps he’s been inspired by one film in particular ..."

“Until Buehler shares his schedule and tells voters why he’s been hiding from their questions on the campaign trail, Oregonians can only assume he’s been playing hooky,” said Melissa Miller, the press secretary for the Democratic Governors Association. “With a fiery Republican field running a ‘street fight’ of a campaign and Knute nowhere to be seen, he had better heed the advice of his fellow Buehler and realize that ‘life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.’ If he doesn’t, Buehler’s campaign will come crashing down—just like Cameron’s dad’s Ferrari.”

Buehler on Tuesday pointed toward the upcoming special legislative session called by Gov. Brown.

“In a few days, the legislature will meet for the third time in a year and for the third time Governor Brown has higher priorities than fixing Foster care," Buehler said in a statement. "This time it’s a special session to salvage her re-election instead of rescuing these kids and families.”

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