OR Lege: Hoyle gets paid by FuturePAC. Good.

Carla Axtman

Editor's note: The original headline of this post indicated that Val Hoyle was being paid by the caucus. Hoyle is being paid by FuturePAC, the Oregon House Democrats campaign committee. Apologies for the error--CA

I get that because this is an innovation in how things are done at the Oregon Legislature, this is a thing.

Jeff Mapes, The Oregonian:

In what appears to be a first for the Oregon Legislature, Oregon House Majority Leader Val Hoyle is receiving a $1,855-a-month stipend from the House Democratic political fund.

Hoyle, a Eugene Democrat, began receiving the stipend after the last session ended in July, according to Hoyle's spokeswoman, Lindsey O'Brien.

O'Brien said the stipend was unanimously approved by the House Democratic caucus in recognition of the large amount of work it takes to oversee the House Democratic campaigns in the election year.

"The caucus just recognized this is a full-time job and she should be compensated for the work she is putting in," said O'Brien, adding that it would be otherwise hard for Hoyle to make financial ends meet while working full-time on the campaigns.

Congratulations to the Oregon House Democrats for stepping up to pay their Majority Leader for the services she's providing. It's about damn time.

We've boxed ourselves in with the "citizen legislature" idea to the point where only those who are wealthy or those who can eke it out on $1800/month plus a small stipend can serve in the legislature. That leaves a whole bunch of smart leaders in Oregon who simply can't afford to do this kind of public service.

There's too much at stake in our state to continue to allow this to go on. We need to attract the best and the brightest leaders to the legislature. But the money piece is a huge barrier. People have mortgages and grocery bills and loan payments. We can't expect people to go into financial ruin simply so to be in the Oregon Legislature. We've shrunk the talent pool and it's a lousy way for us to do business.

I want people that are smarter and more capable than I am to be in public office making decisions with my tax dollars. These are the people that are deciding much of the fate of our state. If we're going to attract these smart, capable, educated leaders from diverse walks of life, we've got to be able to offer them more than $1800 a month and a free parking space in the Salem parking desert near the Capitol.

We hear all the time how private sector companies have to pay big salaries and bonuses to their executives even when budgets are tight. Why? It's the way they retain the very best talent. Public service doesn't mean it's necessary to pay to that degree, but for the smart and talented who wish to serve, we've got to at least pay them a wage that doesn't send them to bankruptcy court.

Hopefully the other caucuses will wise up and begin to pay their leaders for the services they're providing as well. But beyond that, Oregonians need to take a hard look at our "citizen legislature" model. I'm not convinced that it's still working.

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