Ever considered running for the Oregon Legislature?

By Rep. Peter Buckley (D-Ashland).

Here's what has happened so far with the long-sought majority of 31 Democrats in the Oregon House:

Here's what would happen if there were 36 Democrats in the Oregon House today:

Here's what will happen in 2008 if Oregon Democrats slip back to under 31 seats and become the minority party again:

We have Oregon on a roll, and we need your help to keep it going. You know what a difference it makes having the Oregon House in Democratic hands. It's night and day for our state.

And we absolutely must push even harder in 2008 to not only beat back the desperate and no-holds-barred GOP campaign against our incumbents (which has already begun), but to also aggressively move to take at least five more seats to get to the 36-seat majority we need to put in place our long term vision for education, health care, public safety, environmental progress and economic development that is so crucial to our future.

What can you do to help?

If you have ever considered running for the Oregon House, or if you know people in your district who might be excellent candidates in 2008, 2010, 2012 and beyond, come to Emerging Leaders Day at the Capitol on June 7 and spend time with Governor Ted Kulongoski, Speaker Jeff Merkley, Majority Leader Dave Hunt and the Oregon House Democrats. With your help, the best is yet to come:

Emerging Leaders Day 2007
Thursday, June 7th 8am – 3pm
Oregon State Capitol, Salem

Emerging Leaders Day is a biennial opportunity for aspiring Democratic legislators to spend the day “serving” with current House Democratic lawmakers. During Emerging Leaders Day, community leaders from around the state learn the nuts and bolts of the legislative process and get a firsthand view of democracy at work. Emerging Leaders from all 60 Oregon Legislative districts are welcome.

Please join us to learn how to serve Oregon by serving in the Oregon Legislature. For more information contact Michele Rossolo at 503-249-0457 or [email protected] no later than May 29th, 2007. SPACE IS VERY LIMITED!

Comments

  • Rep. Peter Buckley (unverified)
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    A quick edit--

    The Domestic Partnership bill and Anti-Discrimination bill were, of course, signed last week--I wrote this text before the signing.

    PB

  • JohnH (unverified)
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    Campaign Finance Reform: successfully ignored.

    Eliminating the big bucks from Oregon politics would make it feasible for truly progressive people to contemplate making a run for office.

    Instead, Buckley and the Democratic legislature continue to coddle monied interests and their massive tax breaks.

    Buckley's piece should read, "If you have ever considered running for the Oregon House, ARE WILLING TO SUCK UP TO BIG MONEY, or if you know people in your district who might be excellent SUCK UPS, uh, candidates..."

  • (Show?)

    Rep. Buckley, here's a question: what if the talented, engaged people you want to recruit say that they can't afford to serve in the legislature? This is a not-insignificant barrier for new blood.

  • (Show?)

    Dear John H.,

    The spending limits that Oregon voters overwhelmingly passed in 2006 are currently being adjudicated.

    As someone who supported that effort, and who ran for the legislature in 2006, let me share 2 thoughts:

    1) Unless the legislature is willing to pass or refer a constitutional amendment saying that contribution limits are legal in Oregon, my preference is that they leave campaign finance limits alone until the court makes a ruling.

    It's worth mentioning that contribution limits have been legal, and on the books, for most of the last 100+ years in Oregon until repealed by the state legislature in the 1970's.

    In the 1990's the State Supreme Court struck down a certain type of limits, and based on that ruling, the AG and SOS refuse to act on, or otherwise enforce, Measure 47, which is currently the law of the land in Oregon.

    2) Candidates do not need to "suck up" to monied interests in order to get elected.

    Ben Cannon rejected all campaign contributions from corporations and PACs in his race for the legislature and won overwhelmingly in his district.

    I refused contributions from businesses and trade associations that are not in Yamhill County, and was very competitive, losing by 370 votes in a district that no one expected to be competitive.

    I am available to speak to anyone who is interested in running for the legislature to share my thoughts on the experience -- particularly those who are considering a run in districts that are not considered to be competitive and that are not likely to be targeted.

    oregon dot properties at yahoo dot com

  • Janice Thompson (unverified)
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    I trust this thread will get back to its original intent, but a quick addendum to an earlier post with some campaign finance history in Oregon.

    It is important to note that when mentioning (As Sal does above) that when contribution limits were repealed by the state legislature in the early '70's it was because at the same time they were enacting spending limits. In other words, they felt that spending limits were a more effective reform strategy. In 1976, however, Buckley v. Valeo, upheld the constitutionality of contribution limits but not expenditure limits. That invalidated the legislature's focus on spending rather than contribution limits.

    Now back to the main purpose of this thread.

  • (Show?)

    The Domestic Partnership bill and Anti-Discrimination bill were, of course, signed last week--I wrote this text before the signing.

    Sorry, Peter. I should have caught that edit. It's done.

  • JohnH (unverified)
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    Sal--

    "The spending limits that Oregon voters overwhelmingly passed in 2006 are currently being adjudicated." Due in large part to Buckley, Oregon still does not have any campaign finance laws. He turned coat on Measures 46-47, made an incredibly simplistic counter proposal, and was instrumental to the opposition's success. Without him, the constitutional amendment might well have passed, and we would have campaign finance laws and strict disclosure on the books today. Instead we have adjudication.

    You are right that people can run for the legislature without Big Money or the backing of political parties that Big Money underwrites. You were able to name a grand total of two people. They are exceptions that prove the rule. They will never be able to provide an effective counter balance to Big Money.

    Yes, Buckley and the Democratic legislature could have referred a constitutional amendment of their liking to voters. Instead they chose to forget about it. The opposition to M46-47 claimed to support campaign finance laws. But given the rare opportunity presented by controlling both the executive and legislative branches, Democrats made it absolutely clear whose side they are on--Big Money's.

    As a result their inaction, the overwhelming number of serious candidates in competitve races will have to suck up to Big Money or else they will be dead on arrival, just like campaign finance reform in the legislature.

  • (Show?)

    It is important to note that when mentioning (As Sal does above) that when contribution limits were repealed by the state legislature in the early '70's it was because at the same time they were enacting spending limits. In other words, they felt that spending limits were a more effective reform strategy.

    Okay, we're still off-topic here, but isn't it true that Oregon had spending limits prior to the early 1970's?

    My impression was that the legislature acted to increase spending limits and repeal contribution limits, and that it is not the case that they were enacting a spending limit for the first time when contribution limits were repealed.

    I was under the impression that Tom McCall had some action taken against him in the 1960's for violating Oregon's spending limit?

  • (Show?)

    Without him, the constitutional amendment might well have passed, and we would have campaign finance laws and strict disclosure on the books today. Instead we have adjudication.

    The constitutional amendment was soundly defeated despite the fact that most of the opposition to these measures was targeted to defeating the statute.

    I believe that the reluctance of Oregon voters to change the constitution after some of the bad amendments we have seen in the last 15 years via the initiative process was far more relevent to the 60-40 defeat than any campaign against this measure, which focussed heavily on the statute, not the constitutional amendment.

    In my opinion, and I was in many of the meetings that took place, Rep. Buckley did his level best to work out a compromise that would have eliminated contributions directly from corporate and union treasuries, preserved the rights of membership organizations to collect small donations from their members, and would have limited the worst individual donors to less than 20 percent of their current level of contributions.

    I believe that he acted with great integrity throughout a very difficult process dealing with negotiations with 2 sides that, frankly, did not trust one another.

    I should mention that I got back into that fight only after some of the opponents of the two measures criticized the integrity and motives of Dan Meek and Harry Lonsdale who have never done anything other than try to act in the public interest.

    I will have a similarly negative reaction to people making the same kinds of unfair and inaccurate character assassinations against Peter Buckley, who is one of the finest people I've ever met, and who is a dedicated reformer.

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    Given the rare opportunity presented by controlling both the executive and legislative branches, Democrats made it absolutely clear whose side they are on--Big Money's.

    You won't get any argument from me about the chilling effect that large money donors and powerful lobbyists can have on legislative debate over public interest measures such as campaign finance reform.

    There are still people in Democratic politics who would rather I not have a platform for discussing a reform agenda, primarily (I believe) because of the work that I did on that campaign.

    However, I am not so naive as to think that Measures 46 and 47 were perfect laws. Although I believe that some of the ED's and lobbyists who opposed these reforms were doing so out of a sense of duty to their organization rather than the public interest, I also believe that reasonable people can agree to disagree about the efficacy of certain reforms without turning the other side into the devil for what may be nothing more than honest disagreement.

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    Rep. Peter Buckley:

    Here's what has happened so far with the long-sought majority of 31 Democrats in the Oregon House:

    • The Biofuels package, kick-starting alternative energy in
      our state is on its way to becoming law

    • The clampdown on the payday loan industry has been completed with last week's cap of 36% interest on consumer loans

    • Domestic Partnership and anti-discrimination bills were be signed into law, after far too many years of struggle

    • Funding for Head Start and K-12 education is moving back in the right direction after years of all too painful cuts

    • Reform of the signature gathering industry that has hijacked our initiative process is moving on through Oregon now has a Rainy Fund to protect our schools, public safety and seniors during an economic downturn

    Bob T:

    While I don't agree that all of the above are good ideas, I can't argue that these things are "happening" as you say. But....

    Rep. Peter Buckley:

    • Progressive legislation on all fronts is being debated, winning and moving forward

    • We're on schedule to have the most productive legislative session in recent memory, and to adjourn on time

    Bob T:

    These sound like cheerleading opinions.

    Bob Tiernan

  • Scott in Damascus (unverified)
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    These sound like cheerleading opinions.

    As compared to the do-nothing Lynn "Beauty Queen" Snodgras and Karen Minnis tenure?

    There was a reason your party was soundly defeated in '06. Quit while you're ahead Bob.

  • ellie (unverified)
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    Jeff Alworth has a good point. Unfortunately, I don't think anybody is listening (here or in general).

  • (Show?)

    That constitutional amendment regarding campaign finance reform was so poorly and broadly written that it would have had a lot of unintended consequences regarding basic freedom of speech. It went a lot further than just saying that money did not equal speech. It would have given the legislature power to pass laws regulating or preventing any kind of speech it deemed to be political in nature. Clearly unconstitutional from a federal perspective and unwise in any case.

  • (Show?)

    It's definitely a good point, which is why we've had multiple discussions on increasing pay for state legislators.

  • JohnH (unverified)
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    "Reasonable people can agree to disagree about the efficacy of certain reforms without turning the other side into the devil for what may be nothing more than honest disagreement." Agreed. The real issue here is that Buckley appeared to be on the side of campaign finance reform while sabotaging it, and then did absolutely nothing when given the opportunity.

    By making no effort to solve the problem, he became part of the problem, serving the interests of Big Money at the expense of ordinary Oregonians.

    His want ad should read, "Toadies Wanted. Must be able to suck up to monied interests. Must be adept at cultivating image as candidate interested in representing voters' interests."

  • (Show?)

    John, that's a complete and utter load of crap.

    Please, enlighten me about what, if anything, you have done to actively promote campaign finance reform in the last election or during this legislative session.

    Have you even been to a meeting to discuss it, or offered to pitch in? I was at one such meeting just a few days ago, and I don't remember seeing you there.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Ellie is right.

    And suppose someone is living in a small town, has lots of community connections, but the not ability to fundraise which a Portlander (or someone with organizational connections) might have.

    If such a candidate has lots of friends willing to campaign but is told they aren't viable because they don't have enough seed money (and/or are told by former candidates that a legislative campaign can make a big dent in personal savings due to lost worktime, gas to drive around the district, etc. ) why should they gamble their personal finances if the Democrats trying to recruit them really have other priorities?

  • (Show?)

    Jeff, I also agree with your comments on the ability to serve and pay a mortgage and keep a job. Its a difficult proposition that keeps many smart citizens from these races.

  • Tresa (unverified)
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    The House also needs to be commended for HB 2626, the electronic waste recycling bill, that they passed out of the House May 15.

    (you can learn more about environmental bills in the House and Senate at www.olcv.org)

  • JohnH (unverified)
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    Sal-- I actually did a lot on campaign finance reform last year and would welcome the opportunity to do more. No one is demonizing Peter Buckley. I've met him, and he appears to be a very nice guy.

    That said, it's his behavior on a critical issue that is inexcusable. He and his party have totally ignored the voters' mandate for change. As a result, a number of toadies will have to be recruited instead of really good candidates.

    Don't believe it? Read other posts concerned with the money barrier. Big Money likes potential candidates to need money, the more the better.

  • (Show?)

    That said, it's his behavior on a critical issue that is inexcusable. He and his party have totally ignored the voters' mandate for change. As a result, a number of toadies will have to be recruited instead of really good candidates.

    I am deeply offended by that remark.

    The candidates I met who ran in 2006 were very high caliber individuals, who earned my respect as I watched them compete against much better-funded opponents and push a positive agenda for change in this state -- taking issues such as corporate tax reform, civil unions, measure 37, and a host of other issues head-on.

    These are dedicated people who put their lives on hold and reputations on the line to try and make a difference in this state.

  • Scott in Damascus (unverified)
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    Tresa is right - many of the environmental bills are a step, if not a leap, in the right direction. Unfortunately many of these efforts merely mirror what California and Washington have done for years. If only the republics run legislature had done SOMETHING the last 6 years or so we wouldn't be playing catch-up.

    And while we're on the subject - is there any chance of restoring the missing 20+ school days back into the public school year that the Snodgras/Minnis tenure gutted out of the budget? I really hate being known as the Mississippi of the West Coast.

  • (Show?)

    OK, folks. We're done with campaign-finance chatter on this thread. This post isn't about campaign finance. I suggest going back up and re-reading Peter's post. It's about candidate recruitment. Back on topic, please.

  • (Show?)

    I'm looking forward to Emerging Leaders Day. I signed up to attend the moment I got the e-mail from Future Pac.

    I'm hoping to run for the state legislature in a few years, and I can't wait to see the legislature working from the inside. I've been to committee meetings and hearings, watched debates and votes, but I've not been behind the scenes.

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    Bob T: These sound like cheerleading opinions.

    Scott in Damascus: As compared to the do-nothing Lynn "Beauty Queen" Snodgras and Karen Minnis tenure?

    Bob T: Even with nothing to compare them to, they're cheerleading opinions that don't fit in with the rest of the list. I don't give a rat's ass what Snodgrass and Minnis did, either.

    Scott in Damascus: There was a reason your party was soundly defeated in '06. Quit while you're ahead Bob.

    Bob T: Sure, my party was trounced in '06, but because of anything the Republicans did. We libertarians get trounced every year.

    By the way, Scotty, did you ever see the long, long list of Fat Cats and big businesses that contributed major paper to the pro-light rail campaign last time we voted on it? Karlock posted it, and it came right from the C&E reports. You dared anyone to list them, and they were. Whaddya say now, Scotty?

    Bob Tiernan

  • Scott in Damascus (unverified)
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    I don't give a rat's ass what Snodgrass and Minnis did, either.

    Yeah, isn't funny how republicans have a loooong memory when it comes to anything progressives have done in the past yet when held accountable for their own actions (or inaction), republicans posture and screech like little schoolgirls at recess.

    Sure, my party was trounced in '06, but because of anything the Republicans did. We libertarians get trounced every year.

    Oh, so now your a libertarian? Wow you went from the party of bad government to the party unable to govern. Libertarians have no solutions to any of the problems facing the country today so they whine about all the work everyone else is doing (your post provides a perfect example). Maybe there's a reason libertarians get trounced every year - it's a failed political philosophy!

    By the way, Scotty, Nicely played, Assclown Bob. When you have no facts to base an argument upon - you resort to name calling. Even for you Assclown Bob, this seems a little childish. But by calling you Assclown Bob, I've been able to bring the field down to your level and frankly, "assclown" is so much funnier than "Scotty".

    By the way, Scotty, did you ever see the long, long list of Fat Cats and big businesses that contributed major paper to the pro-light rail campaign blah blah blah ....

    Ok, what the hell are you talking about? The subject is progressive legislation and the need for more canidates with progressive agendas (something you know nothing about) - not light rail. Please either take your meds or get off your meds, but ADD and blogging do NOT make for a good combination.

    Karlock posted it Think about it Bob - do you really want to associate yourself with any of Jim "criminals use trees to hide behind" Karlock's lunatic rantings?

    And to everyone else - have a great weekend. I'm gone.

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    [1] Bob T: I don't give a rat's ass what Snodgrass and Minnis did, either.

    [2] Scott in Damascus: Yeah, isn't funny how republicans have a loooong memory when it comes to anything progressives have done in the past yet when held accountable for their own actions (or inaction), republicans posture and screech like little schoolgirls at recess.

    [3] Bob T: Sorry, but you bring up Minnis and Snodgrass as a way of saying that if they did it, then so can Democrats. That’s where we part. The issue here which I brought up is that Rep Somebody posted a list of achievements that was mostly what it was claimed to be, but then tacked on a cheerleading commercial at the end. That made it weak, and anything Minnis and Snodgrass did that was similar cannot change that. Or are you saying, "They did it, too" is your defense?

    [1] Bob T: Sure, my party was trounced in '06, but because of anything the Republicans did. We libertarians get trounced every year.

    [2] Scott in Damascus: Oh, so now your a libertarian?

    [3] Bob T: Oh, I see the problem here. You’re confusing me with another Bob Tiernan – the Republican who was once a member of the Oregon legislature. I don’t think he lives in this state any longer.

    [1] Bob T: By the way, Scotty, did you ever see the long, long list of Fat Cats and big businesses that contributed major paper to the pro-light rail campaign

    [2] Scott in Damascus: Ok, what the hell are you talking about? The subject is progressive legislation and the need for more candidates with progressive agendas (something you know nothing about) - not light rail.

    [3]Bob T: Sure, but you disappeared (“took a powder” in 30’s gangster film lingo) from that earlier thread and never acknowledged the info that you had requested, or should I say dared anyone to provide, namely, the names of the special interests who benefit from light rail projects and who heavily bankrolled the North-South ballot measure campaign in 1998. You guzzoogled outta there, hoping time (your friend) would make people forget they saw it, too. Then you’ll come back and even double-dare anyone to provide the list you’ll still say is a figment of rail opponents’ imaginations.

    So, do you want information or not? Are you objective? You asked for the info because, I gather, its existence might make you think differently (otherwise it wouldn’t matter). But you saw it, and, well, guzzoogled. Closed your eyes, covered your ears, and claimed you never saw it, I guess.

    [1] Bob T: Karlock posted it

    [2]Scott in Damascus: Think about it Bob - do you really want to associate yourself with any of Jim "criminals use trees to hide behind" Karlock's lunatic rantings?

    [3] Bob T: Excuse me, Scott from Damascus, but that long list (which runs over 60 pages) was originally Xeroxed by yours truly, for a fee, when I went to see it at the Multnomah County Elections Division office and is the official C & E report (Contributions and Expenditures) for the Yes on North-South campaign or whatever it was they called their PAC. Karlock’s views on tress have zero to do with that. I made copies of the report for interested people, including a friend at KBOO who was equally distrustful of the Fat Cats lining up behind these very political projects. I though you guys liked to "follow the money". Oh, but if it's a light rail project, look the other way. You also did that when the hated Bechtel Corporation made its sweetheart deal with the Portland establishment to get access to 120 acres or Port of Portland land (provided to the Port by the Feds originally, meaning it was public land) in exchange for building the Red Line with its own money (but they got loads of tax dollars anyway). Suddenly Bechtel was made of sugar and spice and everything nice...

    Back to the C&E,some of the contributions were quite large – as much as $50,000. After giving that kind of money, it’s no wonder that these Fat Cats and corporations saw to it that the establishment built the projects anyway. Without a vote. Ever again.

    So, are you saying the I made up that C & E report? Do you think I took over 60 pages of blank paper or blank C & E forms and made a phony report to pass around?

    Get real, Scotty. If you’re typical of progressives (so-called), then your inability to be objective is quite telling.

    Bob Tiernan

  • LT (unverified)
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    Bob, why don't you run for legislature? Or would that mean debating people other than bloggers?

    I had a conversation with a distinguished member of the Public Comm. on the Legislature last year about the actions of various members. What Scott did to Arnie Roblan last session ("vote with us on education or your airport bill dies") esp. since Roblan was a member of the OTHER PARTY, was something no one should be proud of.

    Forget Minnis and Snodgrass ever existed. But as the PCOL member had hoped, no one (at least that I know of) has done a tit for tat with Scott now that he is in the minority--it seems this session most legislators are more interested in solving problems as publicly as possible. May not be perfect, may be doing more in private than some would like, may not be making decisions some like.

    But instead of the "our caucus has decided" attitude, there has been more open discussion.

    Recently, at a town hall meeting held by 3 Republicans, one of those members complained the reason a vote was straight party was that they had concerns about a bill which they weren't able to even read until shortly before the vote. It was an impassioned speech. After the meeting broke up, one of the local citizens said "you just put into words the reason many of us campaigned for Democrats---it was made very clear to us that we didn't matter because we weren't members of the majority caucus". Someone nearby looked at the legislator who had made the speech and said "it feels different when the shoe is on the other foot, doesn't it?".

    Personally, I'd like to see open primaries and a non-partisan legislature. I prefer to hear the merits of issues, not which caucus is winning or losing. How many people vote for legislators to be part of a caucus team and never think for themselves?

  • (Show?)

    Personally, I'd like to see open primaries and a non-partisan legislature. I prefer to hear the merits of issues, not which caucus is winning or losing. How many people vote for legislators to be part of a caucus team and never think for themselves?

    Amen to that, LT. Throw in campaign finance limits, or any other reform that would prevent the lobby from controlling much of the debate around issues such as education, taxes, etc, and you'd have a hat-trick, IMHO.

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    LT: Personally, I'd like to see open primaries and a non-partisan legislature.

    Bob T: You can have the latter (a good idea) without the former (a bad idea).

    Bob Tiernan

  • ellie (unverified)
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    Caucus power troubles me too, LT. I'm not sure if open primaries and a non-partisan legislature are the answer, but I'm willing to consider them. What I find most interesting about that is how opposed party leadership seems to be, which, I confess, makes it more appealing. ;)

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    Scott in Damscus: Libertarians have no solutions to any of the problems facing the country today....Maybe there's a reason libertarians get trounced every year - it's a failed political philosophy!

    Bob T: Actually, we have plenty of them. Besides, like us or not, I will agree with Socialist candidate for President Eugene Debs who said, "I'd rather vote for what I want and not get it, than vote for what I don't want and get that".

    Bob Tiernan

  • (Show?)
    LT: Personally, I'd like to see open primaries and a non-partisan legislature. Bob T: You can have the latter (a good idea) without the former (a bad idea).

    Huh? How do you have a nonpartisan legislature without nonpartisan elections?

    I think it's the other way around. You can have an open primary without a nonpartisan legislature.

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    LT: Personally, I'd like to see open primaries and a non-partisan legislature.

    Bob T: You can have the latter (a good idea) without the former (a bad idea).

    Kari Chisholm: Huh? How do you have a nonpartisan legislature without nonpartisan elections?

    I think it's the other way around. You can have an open primary without a nonpartisan legislature.

    Bob T: By "open primaries" I think of voters getting to vote for any candidate no matter what party that candidate is part of.

    Anyway, that's a crappy idea (unless the party in question wants it).

    But I do think all offices in this country should be non-partisan.

    Bob Tiernan

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