The Future of Oregon is in the Voter’s Hands

The future of Oregon is teetering on the edge of a Democrat “Super Majority” in both the State Senate and State House. What this means is dominance and absolute single party control. The Democrats could pass any legislation they desire without a single Republican vote. The Democrat agenda would be absolute with no recourse: new and higher taxes, gun control and confiscation, infringement on one’s personal beliefs, and much, much more.

The future of Oregon is in the hands of the Voter’s hands. This unchecked control in Oregon’s Senate and House can be stopped. It will require voters who normally do not vote to vote. It will require voters to vote their entire ballot, not just the top. And, it will require voters to vote for non-Democrat candidates who have a reasonable chance of winning their race.

Whether you like it or not, the Governor elected on Tuesday will be Pro-Choice. There is no question about that. The choice you do have as a voter, do you want a Governor who supports government funded abortions or not? Knute Buehler, the Republican candidate, does not support government funded abortions, nor does he support late term abortions. Kate Brown, however, supports both late term and government funded abortions.

Kate Brown has also made it clear, in her words, “Gun Safety”, but what she means, “gun control and confiscation” are priority items. She fully intends to strip away even more rights of Oregon gun owners. Buehler has been accused of being anti 2nd Amendment. His voting record as a legislator has proved this to be not true. Most of the gun legislation brought before the house he has voted to protect the gun owner’s rights. As a voter, do you want more rights removed?

There are other races on your ballot that are just as important: Senate, House, City Mayors and Councilors, state measures and more.

Because Oregon is on the cusp of un-checked control from a Democrat legislation, it is imperative that Republican legislators be elected. We, as voters, must as ourselves, do we want more and higher taxes, do we want our veterans take a back seat to those living here in Oregon illegally from other countries, and do we want our personal beliefs held in check? If the answer is no, voters must vote for the Republican Senate and House candidate to keep the Democrat agenda under control.

Republican candidates will need Independent, non-Affiliate Voters, Constitutionalists, Green and all the other parties support. Yes, even the support of Democrat voters. Many of our state legislators continue to be elected in Democrat controlled districts, so it can be done. Even Dennis Richardson won an office not held by a Republican for many, many years.

We all have personal beliefs, we all have pride and we all have convictions. But we all must be realistic as well. In Oregon, only a Republican or Democrat will be elected to a state office. It has nothing to do with beliefs, prejudices or politics. It is as simple as numbers. Democrats, Republicans and non-affiliated make up the vast majority of registered voters. To end the tyrannical rule of the Democrats in Oregon, ballots must be cast for Republicans. Votes for any other candidate or party virtually guarantees a Democrat controlled legislation.

All votes are important.

Vote for the Republican candidate to stop the Democrat agenda.

Remember, the future of Oregon is in the voter’s hands.

 

About the Author: Ron Le Blanc is the Past Chair of the Clackamas County Republican Party. He is also a small business owner and a retired Deputy Sheriff.

Standard Disclaimer: The opinions stated by the author may not be those of the Clackamas County Republican Party

The Importance of Voting

A few weeks ago I discussed with you the importance of being an informed voter in an article titled, Be an Informed Voter: Learn the Facts. Today I am writing about the importance of voting.

A little history.

Before the United States was a sovereign nation, we consisted of thirteen colonies under British Parliamentary rule. Although Massachusetts had a form of self-government, they still had to answer to the British Crown, and pay any taxes and adhere to any punitive laws rendered by the Parliament.

After constant tax increases and new taxes, resistance emerged within the colonies in 1773. Tensions continued, escalating to armed conflict starting in just two years later. Finally, in 1776, the thirteen colonies declared their independence from Britain.

In 1789 our United States Constitution was adopted. Two years later, the Bill of Rights was added to guarantee inalienable rights.

Within the Constitution it states, “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government”. A republican government is one in which the political authority comes from the people. In the United States, power is given to the government by its citizens as written in the U.S. Constitution and through its elected representatives.

Every vote counts.

It is incumbent upon every citizen to exercise their right to vote, because it is we, the voter, who grants the power to the government through the representatives we elect.

Without full participation of every voter, we do not have true representation in government. What we have is representation based upon the wishes of the few. We have representation that may not represent our values and beliefs.

In Oregon, the voter turnout averages less than 82% for Presidential General Elections and less than 71% for Midterm General Elections. Primaries average about 35% voter turnout.

“Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.”

Abraham Lincoln

Oregon voter apathy does not provide true representation for the citizens. But it does provide representation for the few people who cared enough to vote.

The importance of voting.

Oregon is at a pivotal time in its political history. Democrats are on the verge of gaining the Super Majority with just a few key wins. Republicans have strong candidates that are making strong strides, putting their Democrat opponents on their heels.

Polls indicate the Governor’s race almost dead even between the Republican Candidate Knute Buehler and Democrat Candidate, incumbent Kate Brown. Buehler has the endorsements of most of the major newspapers throughout Oregon and is leading in campaign donations. Brown, who is having difficulties with her leadership record (according to Oregonian) and recent transparency issues could turn the Office over to Buehler.

Oregon, which has a Democrat lead in voter registration over the Republicans by almost 200,000 voters, could see the first Republican Governor since Vic Atiyeh was elected in 1978 and 1982.

Brown is vulnerable. Her record as a leader is tarnished. On education, one of the leading topics in Oregon, Brown “failed” when she got caught trying to hide the dismal results of the graduating rates of our students, placing them 3rd from the bottom nationally. Brown’s reputation also took a hit as she claims to be “transparent” but was caught attempting to hide the education grade card until after the elections, and questions also arose when she refused to release 250 bills until after the election that she intends to have introduced to raise taxes to cover her budget.

 In conclusion:

There are enough Democrats and Non-Affiliated Voters who are disillusioned with their party candidate, Kate Brown, who will vote for Knute Buehler to win the Governor’s race. But he needs every Republican vote possible.

 “A Red Oregon begins in Clackamas County”

John Lee, Past Chair, Clackamas County Republican Party

I ask every Republican to vote.

I ask every Republican to vote the entire ballot, from city to state to national positions.

I ask every Republican to vote a straight Republican Ballot.

We must not allow one party rule to continue in Salem. It is only by voting a Republican Ballot that we can protect our Republican Values, our Republican Beliefs and our Personal Freedoms.

 

About the author: Ron Le Blanc is the Past Chair of the Clackamas County Republican Party. He has also served as the Co-Chair of the CCRP Candidate Development Committee. Ron is also a retired Deputy Sheriff.

 

Standard Disclaimer: The opinions stated by the author ar not necessarily those of the Clackamas County Republican Party.

Oregonian Editorial Endorsement: Knute Buehler for Oregon Governor

Reprinted from the Oregonian, October 13, 2018

Editorial Endorsement: Knute Buehler for Oregon Governor

by The Oregonian Editorial Board

Before Oregonians cast their vote for governor they should first recognize what this race is not about. It's not about abortion rights, despite ads attempting to cast it as a wedge issue between pro-choice Democratic Gov. Kate Brown and her pro-choice Republican opponent, Rep. Knute Buehler.

It's not about who aligns best with Portland metro area residents, despite the focus on the region and its immense voting power.

And it's not about Donald Trump, despite his administration's reckless stances and callous policies that have kept people across the country in a continual state of alarm.

Simply, the Oregon governor's race is about who can best lead Oregon in tackling the human and economic crises unfolding on our home turf. From the state's distressed K-12 education system to the critical need for pension reform to encouraging more affordable-housing construction, Oregon is running out of time to responsibly address these challenges. With little vision and no urgency by Brown in her nearly four years as governor, and insufficient experience from Independent Party nominee Patrick Starnes, voters fortunately have a strong alternative. Oregonians should vote for the candidate who is willing to take courageous action on these entrenched problems and mark their ballots for Knute Buehler.

Buehler, 54, may lack the name recognition of Brown, who has been in political office for decades as a legislator, secretary of state and governor since former Gov. John Kitzhaber resigned in February 2015 amid a corruption probe. But the Republican nominee, who is a native Oregonian and orthopedic surgeon, has built up his own impressive record as a two-term state representative from Bend, a district in which Democrats hold a registration edge.

While his votes have tracked with his caucus on fiscal issues, he has broken with his party many times, reflecting his moderate outlook on social issues. He voted with Democrats to adopt a gun control measure banning firearms ownership by people convicted of domestic abuse; voted in favor of a bill raising some real-estate document recording fees to help fund housing initiatives; and he even carried the bill on the House floor that gave women the ability to seek birth control prescriptions from a pharmacist, rather than having to go to a doctor. He also was among Republican legislators developing a more broad-based funding solution for the Medicaid expansion than the temporary package that was signed into law.

But it's not his background so much as his priorities and concrete ideas for Oregon that should win over voters. Improving the quality of education for Oregon's K-12 students is his top priority with an ambitious goal of moving the system from the bottom five in the nation to the top five in five years. More than any other aspect of state government, K-12 education illustrates Brown's profound failure to lead.

Buehler has a long list of proposals to flesh out his vision. They include devoting 15 percent more in General Fund dollars to the K-12 education budget to help pay for lengthening the school year from the 165-day average to 180 days. He aims to reduce class sizes and add reading aides, with the goal that every third grader meets reading benchmarks. He describes establishing an ROTC-like scholarship program to train Oregon teachers and increase diversity within their ranks. And he would restructure Oregon's broken public-employee pension system to help districts direct more dollars to serving students while still ensuring fair retirements for teachers. That priority is particularly important considering that even with record-high education spending in the 2017-2019 biennium - 11 percent more than the budget cycle before - school districts have had to cut teachers and programs to cover skyrocketing pension and health care benefits. Left unchecked, those burdens will sink our schools.

Contrast Buehler's education platform with Brown, whose vision consists mostly of initiatives left by Kitzhaber, programs dictated by voters or priorities pushed by the teachers' union. (Interestingly, her chief education officer is a union official who has zero experience as an educator.) Two years after voters passed a career-and-technical education initiative to improve graduation and dropout rates, she is only now committing to fully fund it, championing it as a key part of her plan. And so perhaps, it's not that surprising that the state continues to have the third-worst graduation rate in the country, test scores show declines or little progress and the last two years of data for dropouts and chronic absenteeism show no improvement.

In fact, when asked by The Oregonian/OregonLive Editorial Board why there hasn't been more progress in education, Brown said it's still coming together. "You will not see more progress until we literally have what I call a seamless system of education from cradle to career," she said, referencing the initiative created by Kitzhaber that her administration is building out. She added that investments in pre-kindergarten will help ensure that students show up to kindergarten "ready to learn."

No one, particularly the families of the 600,000 students currently in Oregon's K-12 schools, should accept her apparent willingness to write off their education. The years students have to grow and learn in the K-12 education system are fleeting. The window of opportunity for students to gain the tools, skills and confidence they need is limited. And the enormous difference that a quality education can make for kids from the poorest of families is an imperative that should guide our leaders to make the bravest of choices.

But Brown hasn't been that leader.

Buehler's willingness to address the growing $22 billion pension debt - which both candidates called a "crisis" - is another critical difference between the two. Education isn't the only area where pension costs are driving cuts. That painful math is playing out across 900 state agencies, local governments, public utilities and other public employers who will be paying $4 billion in contributions to the Public Employees Retirement System in 2019-2021, a 38 percent increase over the current biennium. The burden is already overwhelming. It's crushing if state economists' projections of a possible recession beginning in 2020 come true.

Buehler advocates pursuing employee contribution changes and salary limits that legislators had considered in 2017 - until Brown, Senate President Peter Courtney and House Speaker Tina Kotek pulled the plug, saying they would revisit such ideas later. In 2019. But even now, Brown is noncommittal about asking employees to contribute to the pension fund as they do in other states. Such changes, she has said, are akin to "balancing the budget on the backs" of employees.

Buehler faces tough odds to win in a state where registered Democrats handily outnumber Republicans, and in a year when Trump's policies and persona have turned a #NeverTrump attitude into a #NeverRepublican mantra. Commercials and social media campaigns by Brown's allies have tried to discredit his moderate stances and paint him as a Trump ally, even though he has openly criticized Trump many times. Oregonians shouldn't be distracted by such maneuvers and instead ask themselves what are the most pressing problems that our governor should address?

While Buehler gets some things wrong - his muddled response on repealing the state's sanctuary law, for example - he offers a brighter vision for what Oregon should be and how to get there. His approach, versus Brown's, reflects the leadership he would bring not just to education and pension reform, but funding health care, promoting housing development, and Oregon's many other needs.

Brown's commitment to public service, whether in or out of political office, is unquestionable. The first openly bisexual governor in the nation, Brown has been an inspiration to many who have been sidelined because of race, gender, sexual orientation or ethnicity. Her work as Oregon's secretary of state to create an automatic voter registration process broke new ground in helping increase voter participation. And when Kitzhaber's resignation amid a corruption probe in 2015 suddenly thrust her into the top job, she rose to the moment, displaying the poise and measured temperament needed to help shell-shocked Oregonians heal.

But in nearly four years as governor, Brown never owned the role. It's time for Oregonians to give it to someone who will.

- Helen Jung for The Oregonian/OregonLive Editorial Board

 

Oregonian editorials:

Editorials reflect the collective opinion of The Oregonian/OregonLive editorial board, which operates independently of the newsroom. Members of the editorial board are Laura Gunderson, Helen Jung, Therese Bottomly and John Maher.
Members of the board meet regularly to determine our institutional stance on issues of the day. We publish editorials when we believe our unique perspective can lend clarity and influence an upcoming decision of great public interest. Editorials are opinion pieces and therefore different from news articles. However, editorials are reported and written by either Laura Gunderson or Helen Jung.

 

Standard Disclaimer: The views and opinions of the author are not necessarily those of the Clackamas County Republican Party