Legislators must be reminded of ‘what Oregon stands for’

Oregon continues to draw new residents, even with the economic recession. The last decade saw almost a 12 percent population increase in Oregon because the rest of the country is catching onto what we have always known – that Oregon is a beautiful place to call home and Oregonians are wonderful people to call neighbors. Unfortunately, this beautiful state we love is being steered from a course of progress down a slope of pitfalls. It’s time to elect leadership that stands with the people of Oregon. It is time to remind the Legislature in Salem what we stand for.

In a word from Tom McCall, Oregon stands for “livability.” This state is blessed with an abundance of natural resources, from which innovative Oregonians have created businesses spanning numerous industries. It is our duty to continue using these resources with care, so future generations can enjoy the natural beauty, industry and bountiful energy we have today. We must plan today for the workers of tomorrow. Our farsightedness will protect the environment and outdoor recreation we love, while growing our local businesses. Oregon stands for the balance of land use and conservation. As Oregonians, we stand for this balance.

Oregon in the past has always welcomed new jobs and businesses. Recently however, the state Legislature has undermined the ability of entrepreneurs and small businesses to create jobs by levying harsh new taxes. To short circuit the debate, the tax advocates characterized their opponents as “rich” and “greedy.” As Oregonians we must stand together when it comes to paying for government services. We cannot allow the majority consistently to tax a small minority to cover budget shortfalls due to mismanagement of funds. If we do, our businesses will leave and become Washington’s businesses.

As we revive the spirit of innovation by rewarding entrepreneurship, we must look also to shaping Oregon’s future citizens. Oregon has always stood for education. Yet, this year, Oregon’s education system was ranked in the bottom five states in the nation by Education Week’s Quality Counts report. We must provide stable and adequate funding for our children’s schools. We cannot divert school funds to pet projects catalyzed by special interest groups or to online schools. How can we hope to pass on a legacy of innovation if we do not give our children the tools to spell the word “innovation?” Oregon can have great schools, if only we have a Legislature committed to education that puts children ahead of all adult interest groups.

We must remind the Legislature what Oregon stands for. Like Tom McCall before me, I stand for independent thinking, dynamic business development, protecting and using our state’s natural resources and putting children first. I stand for Oregon.

Steve Griffith is a Republican candidate for Senate District 19, which covers Southwest Portland, West Linn, Tualatin, Lake Oswego.

Published in the West Linn Tidings on May 6th 2010 http://www.westlinntidings.com/opinion/story.php?story_id=127301431699447800  and published in the Lake Oswego Review on May 6th, 2010 http://www.lakeoswegoreview.com/opinion/story.php?story_id=127309470340796000

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