Pamplin Media Group – Wilsonville resident is running for US Congress

Orthopedic surgeon John Di Paola is running as a Republican for a seat held by Kurt Schrader


Wilsonville resident John Di Paola had never run for office or been particularly active politically. But in surveying the social and political landscape the last couple years, he was dismayed by what he saw. In particular, he grew frustrated with the seeming lack of police resources and homelessness on local streets, as well as the mask and vaccine mandates that he says have been ineffective.

In turn, Di Paola, who owned an orthopedic practice for two decades, decided to run for the United States 5th Congressional District as a Republican in a seat currently held by Rep. Kurt Schrader. The primaries for this election will take place May 17.

“I became increasingly frustrated and could not sit on the sidelines and watch this happen. I had to step up,” he said.

Di Paola, who grew up in New Jersey and is the grandson of Italian immigrants, said he was taught from an early age values ​​like working hard, honesty and thinking for yourself. In early adulthood, he held a job as a truck driver to earn money for college before attending Rutgers Medical School. He initially worked at Providence and Good Samaritan hospitals before starting his practice focusing on treating workplace injuries in Tualatin.

“I always found I enjoyed treating working people more than other demographics. That’s kind of the background I came from. Those are my people, if you will,” he said.

Di Paola’s shift toward politics began after he retired in 2020. He said he decided to run for Congress rather than a more local public office because he wanted to have a broader impact.

“I’m running because I want to change the balance of power in Washington DC,” he said.

In regards to efforts among some members of his party to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, Di Paola felt that a thorough investigation should be conducted on the matter but that he would not draw any conclusions until that is completed. He further felt that election systems should move away from computer technologies to count votes.

“There’s a lot of disagreement about how secure our election system is. I think we should be evaluating our election system and we should be investigating what happened in 2020. And whether that’s sufficient to overturn the election, that would have to be shown, “he said.

He also said that he received COVID-19 vaccinations but has been dissatisfied that the vaccines do not prevent illness and that the virus continues to spread among those who have received shots. He thinks more of an emphasis should be placed on therapies and that mask and vaccine mandates should be repealed.

“I think the COVID situation has not been managed properly. I think it’s caused confusion, anger and divisiveness in our country. We need to have reputable researchers and scientists that do not have conflicts of interest to reevaluate what’s going on and educate the American public to what the virus is, “he said.

Di Paola further talked about the need to address environmental degradation, and provide places to go and support systems for homeless people who have mental health issues or other ailments. However, he felt that the federal budget should not be raised to address these issues.

“I do not think the American people need to bear the burden of any more taxes if we can avoid it. There’s probably areas where funds are not being effectively allocated,” he said.

Though the 5th Congressional District has new boundaries, Di Paola is expected to run against Schrader, a Democrat who has represented the district since 2009. Schrader told OPB in November that he would run for reelection in his current district as opposed to the new 6th Congressional District, but has yet to make an official announcement. The new district includes Clackamas County and runs all the way to Bend.

Di Paola felt that he could attract independent and Democratic voters and that these residents are also fed up with issues like the homelnessness crisis, unaffordable housing and an increase in crime.

“There are a lot of independent voters and many of my Democratic friends who are just as frustrated about these issues as anyone else,” he said.

Finally, Di Paola pledged to voters that he would work toward solutions rather than participate in political grandstanding – and stressed that he’s not a politician.

“I’m a blue collar doctor. My orientation is for solutions and bringing people together. I’m going to work really hard to accomplish that goal,” he said.

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