“People are suffering and losing faith that their representatives are looking out for their interests. I will work to change that.”

Dear Reader:

Before I tell you where I stand on the issues I think are most important to Oregon, I’d like to tell you how I make up my mind – and how I don’t!

One of the things I think I can bring to the Oregon legislature is thoughtfulness. I like thinking about issues. I like trying to decide which issues are most important to the common good. I like the learning that comes from deciding an issue is important, and that I need to learn more about it.

Education, to me, is the foundation of good policy. I try to answer the question, “Why?” before I answer the question “Why not?”. In my experience, if you don’t understand the reason things are as they are, you’ll almost always fail in changing them.

I am never fully satisfied with my understanding of the facts or with my opinion. I intentionally seek out ideas that disagree with mine, to see whether I need to revise my own view. In my view, a legislator owes his constituents the full use of his mind.

I am not a cynic, but I am a realist. Human nature is contrary. In legislating, it is wise to assume the worst and then be happy if things turn out better. Any law that sounds good should be tested to see how it can go wrong – out of respect for those whose lives will be regulated or whose taxes will be spent.

To me, no idea is good or bad because of its source. I am a Republican. That doesn’t mean an idea is good because another Republican suggests it, or that an idea is bad because a Democrat proposes it. An idea needs to stand or fall on its own merits.

It is remarkable how people choose principles that favor them financially and oppose those that would make them pay. We dress up self-interest in many clothes. Prejudices are like a magnetic field. They cause all the facts we hear to line up in a pattern that proves we were right to begin with. The job of a legislator is to detect self-interest and prejudice and move on. Sometimes people are right for the wrong reason.

Law is important, but it is imperfect compared to morality. We cannot legislate our way out of problems that are cultural. Legislation is a kind of dependency. My instinct is not, to legislate, but to not legislate. There is as much judgment in refraining to exercise power as in exercising it.

Thanks. I hope you will conclude, from reading this, that I value your views. I need them to be a good legislator.

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