MitchMessage -- Pre-election
Date: Sun, 22 Oct 2006 13:32:24 -0700
My next two Town Hall have been scheduled. The first will be on November 13, 6:30 pm at the Good Samaritan Hospital Auditorium, NW. 22nd and Marshall (across from the main hospital entrance). The second will be on November 14, 6:30pm at St. Vincent Hospital's Souther Auditorium (East Pavilion entrance). We'll discuss the election results and getting ready for the 2007 session.
Tip O'Neil, a famous Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives tells of asking his next-door neighbor if she had voted for him in the election the day before. She answered she hadn't and explained that he had never asked her to vote for him. So one purpose of this message, sent as the ballots are being delivered, is to make sure I have asked you to vote for me (if you live in my district) as I seek my third term in the Oregon House of Representatives.
But in addition, I want to take the opportunity to comment on some of the ballot measures we are facing in this election, measures which will shape the future of our community for years to come.
There are five statewide measures that I believe are critical and I urge you to think very carefully about each of them. Three measures are non-financial and two have potentially very significant financial impact on the state.
First I recommend a yes vote on Measure 44, which expands the state program for the bulk purchasing of prescription drugs. Senator Bill Morrisette and I created this program during the 2003 session, for a limited number of Oregonians. It doesn't cost the taxpayer any money, but it provides the opportunity for many Oregonians to save a great deal as they purchase prescriptions. We tried to expand the program to all Oregonians without prescription coverage in the 2005 session, but we were blocked by the Republican leadership of the House at the direction of the pharmaceutical lobby. As you read the voters pamphlet you'll find many statements in favor of the measure and none in opposition.
I recommend a no vote on the four other measures that concern me -- Measure 43, 45, 41, and 48. Measure 43 requires parental notice before girls 15 years and older receive abortion services, with no exceptions for rape or incest. I believe all families should be loving and supportive families. But my experience serving on the child abuse subcommittee during the last session reminded me that all families are not all loving and supportive. Teens 15 and older can consent to major surgical procedures (although not ear-piercing) and they must have the ability to access abortion services without fear of retribution from abusive parents.
Measure 45 would implement term limits for the members of the legislature, limiting House members to six years of service and Senate members to eight years, although members serving in both houses could serve a total of 14 years. This measure would be applied retroactively, and would take out 40 of the 90 members of the legislature after the up-coming session. This would make the up-coming term my last, although without term limits I expect to serve one additional term. But besides the effect on my plans, implementing term limits is a truly bad idea and I opposed it the last time it was on the ballot. These decisions should be left to the voters. Eliminating all of the experienced legislators at one time leaves Oregon in the hands of the lobbyists and the bureaucrats.
I urge you to vote no on the dangerous Measure 41 and the extremely dangerous Measure 48. Measure 41 will provide a small tax cut to many Oregonians (while reducing their kicker check) but it will take $800 million out of the budget during the next biennium and forever. That is money critical to our ability to fund schools, services for children and the elderly, prisons and state police.
Measure 48 is even more dangerous. Measure 48 imposes limits on state spending, regardless of the source of the funding. For example, if we were faced with a significant state disaster, we couldn't spend money the federal government sent us for disaster relief. We'd be limited in our ability to repair our roads, even using federal matching funds. To quote the Oregonian on Measure 48 "This is far and away the worst, most potentially damaging initiative on the ballot. It would severely hamstring Oregon government, its schools and its economy." Measure 48 is opposed by every major business and labor group in Oregon and by both Ted Kulongoski and Ron Saxton.
On the local level there are local measures for both my Multnomah County and my Washington County constituents. I strongly support a yes vote on each of them. In Multnomah County there is both the Portland Public Schools Measure 26-84 and the Multnomah County Library Measure 26-81.
In Washington County there are school bond issues in Beaverton and Hillsboro . And there is an operating levy for the Cooperative Library System, including the Cedar Mill Library (Measure 34-126). Each of these measures provides critical support for services that define the nature of our communities.
I apologize for the length of this message, but I consider these measures so critical for the future of Oregon . My next MitchMessage will assess the results of the election and will begin the discussion of my legislative agenda for the 2007 session.