Editor's Note: The following two comments appeared late last night in the Jeff Merkley item. The response from Representative Peter Buckley (D-Ashland) is good enough to post here.
Lynn Porter: Democrats on the state level have the same problem as Democrats on the national level -- the lack of a compelling vision. It seems that all you're willing to try for are minor adjustments. That doesn't get the public stirred up. What is your vision for the future of this state? If you don't have one, why should we care?
Rep. Peter Buckley: Lynn-- Thanks for your post. Your comment amazes me, though, I have to say. This entire thread is all about the House Republicans' fear of our vision for the state and the lengths they will go to in order to keep us from speaking about it on the House floor. Let me make it simple for you:
--Google "Oregon Business Plan" and find out what the primary need is for economic development in our state is, as articulated by leaders of every major industry. The need is to invest in education. The payoff is huge. Our vision for the state is to invest in education from pre-K all the way through grad school, invest in our kids, invest in our future, and reap the rewards. Every proposal we made this session to actually make this investment was blocked by the House GOP, even to the point of threats against our members who dared to try to debate this on the floor.
--Oregon Democrats believe every Oregonian has the right to decent health care coverage. That is our vision, plain and simple, and we know we can accomplish it if given the chance. It will require transparency in the health care delivery system so costs can be analyzed, it will require that ALL companies (including Wal-Marts, etc.) contribute for health care instead of passing the costs along to the stae, it will require an adjustment on tax revenue (such as a renewal of the 10 cents a pack tobacoo tax), and it wil require practical steps such as the expansion as our perscription drug purchasing pool (which has a proven track record of saving Oregonians up to 40% on drug prices). Again, all of these proposals have been blocked in the House. They are part of our vision for Oregon. If you have questions on them, let me know.
--We also passionately believe that all Oregonians deserve the same civil rights. What do you believe?
--Our vision for economic development, in addition to the investment in pre-K through grad school education, can be seen in proposals such as Connect Oregon, the Governor's proposal we passed yesterday, to insure the effective transportation of goods in our state for domestic and international markets. We build on Oregon's strengths in terms of goods to market, and we fight for living wage jobs because our vision is one that says that if every person who works hard is paid a decent wage, they will fuel our economy with the purchases they need to provide a good life for their families, and they will have a stake in building our communities.
In short, our vision is one of progress for all, for a state we can be proud to leave to our kids. What is the GOP "vision"? I've spent seven months in session now, and I haven't the faintest idea of what it might be besides stifling debate, fighting for tax breaks for those who are already thriving, and moving forward on the slow death of public education and other programs that could and should be a tremendous benefit to the people of our state.
Our vision? That is exactly what Speaker Minnis has worked so hard to try to silence in the House. But we won't be silenced. Our vision and our passion for it is much too strong, and we plan to see our vision become reality over the next several years in our state.
Care to join us?
Rep. Peter Buckley (D-Ashland)