Republican candidate for governor, Bill Sizemore, is the owner/operator of William L Sizemore Construction and Painting and also Bill Sizemore Painting with crews in the Portland area and in Central Oregon. He is also a former radio host and the author of three books, including the fast-paced fiction novel, “Escape from Jonestown,” written under the pen name Billy Rivers.
Bill has traveled extensively, visiting dozens of countries including in Central and South America, Southeast Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. He has skydived, played top level slow-pitch softball, and successfully hunted bucks and bull elk with both bow and rifle.
Bill has been interviewed countless times on radio and television, both in Oregon and nationally. He has publicly debated the Oregon governor, secretary of state, attorney general, state treasurer,
superintendent of public education, as well as many unions heads, mayors, and the speaker of the Oregon House and President of the Oregon Senate.
Bill has authored and placed more than 20 measures on the ballot and cut taxes by more than $10 billion. His political opponents, the public employee unions, hate tax cuts and have spent more than $60 million fighting his ballot measures, personally smearing Bill with almost all of their ads.
Around the year 2000, Bill purchased a Portland radio station and was fifty percent in a second station, where he hosted The Bill Sizemore Show for four years. He also worked with the popular Discovery Channel’s “Gold Rush” show when they did their season in the jungle in Guyana, South America.
Bill and his wife Cindy, who currently reside in the Central Oregon high desert community of Redmond, raised five children and currently have eight surprisingly young grandchildren.
The Early Years
Bill was raised in Montesano, Washington, where he graduated from high school and also played basketball and football. In 1969, he was voted “best defensive player” and “most inspiration player” by his teammates. After high school he worked driving a forklift and a farmers co-op, set chokers, worked on the green chain at a plywood mill, and worked as an assistant to a soil scientist.
In 1972, Bill moved to Portland to attend Portland Bible College. He graduated in 1976, having worked his way through college painting houses. Bill continued painting houses after college, but with his crew of eight employees he also flipped dozens of "fixer upper” properties in and around Portland.
Starting in Politics
In 1980, Bill ran unsuccessfully for the Oregon State Senate in District 10 in the Mount Tabor and Laurelhurst area of Portland. He says he ran simply because he heard on the radio that no one was running against his local senator, either in the Democrat Primary or the General Election. He says he ran because he thought every politician should be challenged and accountable. To everyone’s surprise, Bill ended up with about 44 percent of the vote in an inner Portland district with a heavy Democrat
In 1993, Bill birthed Oregon Taxpayers United, a statewide taxpayer organization with more than 20,000 donors. For several years the organization placed measure after measure on the ballot, all but setting the political agenda for the state of Oregon. Bill and his taxpayer group were featured in the New York
Times, the Wall Street Journal, and dozens of other newspapers across the country, as well as national television shows such as ABC World News at Night.
Bill’s success angered the political establishment. The public employee unions, the primary source of funding and volunteers for Democrats, made the destruction of Bill Sizemore their highest priority. In 1994, Bill’s measure to reform the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) passed, but Bill and his family endured several death threats and nonstop harassment.
The measures Bill Sizemore place on the ballot included (among others) a measure to End the Eight Percent Guaranteed Rate of Return on the PERS Fund; a measure Prohibiting New or Increased Taxes or Fees without Voter Approval; a measure to make Federal Income Taxes Fully Deductible on State Tax
Returns; a Merit Pay measure for Public School Teachers; a measure Requiring English Immersion for Immigrant Students; A Billion Dollar Property Tax Cut and a Three Percent Cap on Future Assessment Increases; several measures to Prohibit the Use of the Public Payroll System to Collect Political Funds; a
measure to Require Employee Written Consent for Payroll Deductions for Politics; a measure to Require Just Compensation for Regulatory Takings of Private Property; and a referendum stopping huge tax increases to fund the $3.4 billion North South Light Rail system.
It’s easy to see why for well over a decade the public employee unions and liberal media ran a nonstop, seven days a week smear campaign against Bill Sizemore. He was deciding through the initiative process what people would be talking about every general election.
Challenging John Kitzhaber
In 1998 Bill Sizemore ran for governor against John Kitzhaber, who was at the time one of the most popular Oregon governor in modern history. Like 18 years earlier, no one was willing to challenge a sitting incumbent and Bill ran against insurmountable odds, “just because I thought it would be fun to debate the guy.”
John Kitzhaber and Bill Sizemore went head-to-head several times and Bill more than held his own in the debates. He knew the issues forward and backward and his quick wit and ready smile won him begrudging accolades from even some of his worst detractors. But in the end, a Kitzhaber win was inevitable, which was why no one else was willing to run against him.