Why I’m running for Senate

The government of a democracy must be responsive to the people. When government becomes divided by partisanship or becomes an interest group in itself, the people have not only a right, but a duty to elect new leadership.

I am running (for the Oregon Senate) to give the people that choice. For everyone tired of the status quo, the childlike bickering and the power politics of the majority, I offer an alternative. I will build bridges between the parties and make our communities the priority, not Salem’s special interest groups.

My family has a long history of civil service, a tradition that has shaped me since childhood. My grandfather served in Congress from New York. He ran for governor as a Republican when Teddy Roosevelt ran for president. He used to tell me stories of touring in an open car with an inexhaustible man in thick glasses. When he lost his seat in 1932, he was appointed by Franklin Roosevelt to recruit talented people into the civil service. I mention this because in my family tradition, country comes ahead of party. As it should.

My father was also a Republican, a conservationist, a civil rights leader and a civil servant. Against strong opposition, he gave Ralph Bunche, the first black American to win a Nobel Peace Prize, his first government job. As a division head in the Library of Congress, he was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1952 to defend his staff against McCarthyism. He defended each of his staff members and played his part in turning the tide against that witch hunt. Today, we are not staring into the face of communism, but we face other difficulties that require a steady hand and a passion for the common good: Unemployment, mortgage defaults, a deteriorating school system, state budget shortfalls, gerrymandering and stagnation in Salem.

When I was growing up, the Republican Party stood for the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, responsible stewardship of our natural resources, political liberty and bi-partisan leadership. I am ready to bring back the standards, morals and activism that once defined the Republican Party. I am an old- fashioned Republican concerned about liberty and fairness. I have dedicated my life to serving our community; serving in the Peace Corps, the Environmental Protection Agency, as legal counsel to the Oregon House Judiciary Committee, as chair on the Portland School Board and most recently as a volunteer teacher at Lincoln High School.

It is time for new leadership in Salem. Our current Legislature has become captive to special interests and in the process has lost the respect of the voters. This year, when faced with fiscal shortfalls, our Legislature deflected its own responsibility and turned on the businesses community. In a time of high unemployment, they made employers the enemy. When one party holds onto power too long, it will corrupt. A monopoly in politics is as dangerous as a monopoly in economics. If given the opportunity to be the senator for District 19, I will work tirelessly to reconnect the Legislature with our communities and be honest about our problems. Together we can reinvigorate our schools by providing stable funding and higher standards. We can create new jobs by providing tax incentives to businesses that hire Oregonians. And we can protect our environment while using our natural resources sustainably.

Oregon is at a turning point. It can emerge as a leader of bipartisan stewardship or become further arrested by partisan gridlock. This election, voters need to make a statement that they are ready for a positive change. Voters need to show they are ready to revive the community and return to the ethical activism that once defined Oregon. I am running to give voters the chance to make that statement.

Steve Griffith, Portland, is a Republican candidate for Senate District 19.

Published in Lake Oswego Review and The West Linn Tidings on April 8, 2010.

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2 Comments

  1. Liliana Dickenson
    Posted April 12, 2010 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    I am interested in a yard sign (Spanish and English if you have them).

  2. admin
    Posted April 13, 2010 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    Hi Liliana,

    We have yard signs!! If you would like some for you and your friends, please contact us either through the “Join Us” page or call the campaign at 503-451-0113.

    We can’t wait to talk to you!

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