Ben Westlund: independent for governor?

BenwestlundThe Bend Bulletin reported yesterday that Senator Ben Westlund (R-Bend) is considering a run for governor - as an independent:

"I'm getting asked often enough — and I mean every day — by Republicans, Democrats and independents that it appears there is a solid base of support out there," Westlund said Friday. ...

Westlund has not made any decisions, however, and his immediate plans call for vacationing with his family, he said.

But pressed to comment on the possibility of filing, and whether it might be as a Republican or an independent candidate, his response certainly sounded candidatelike: "People are not asking me to run from one party, just to run for governor. People are less concerned about party than someone they see as an effective leader and a problem solver, and that is what Oregon is crying out for right now."

Westlund would figure to be a better fit as an independent statewide candidate than a Republican, because he does not agree with all parts of the party platform and because of his outspoken support of civil unions and some tax measures. Some Central Oregon Republicans are talking about a potential recall because of his civil union stance.


  • Dan B (unverified)

    RUN BEN RUN!!!!!

    Ben is awesome!!! In this past legislative session he carried the water for civil unions in the State Senate and is a big proponent of sensible tax reform to get us out of our education funding crisis. Also Ben is a strong health care advocate and chief petitioner on a new ballot initiative that would expand health care coverage to all Oregonians, especailly the thousands and thousands of children who because of poverty receive no care at all.

    I think he be a great gov!

  • Dale Thompson (unverified)

    Sounds like he might pull our present governor to the left. Who could argue with that!

  • fat chance (unverified)

    Who is the Republican telling him to run?

    He's lucky he hasn't been e"Vic"ted from the legislature.

    As in Viv Backlund.

    Tax reform? Westlund is a liar.

    In promoting a no vote on M30 he repeatedly promised a "time certain" for a special session and tax reform. The tax reform committee roamed the State taking testimony during the run up to the M30 vote.

    In the aftermath of the sweeping M30 victory the "time certain" became back in time. History.

    RINO Ben, switch parties and get yourself cozy.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)

    Westlund is number one in my book - for the title of most over-rated politician in Oregon.

  • Suedmeyer (unverified)

    A Republican from Bend running as an Independent who is described as "Great" because of his support for some failed progressive legislation?

    Anyone point me to an accurate reporting of his voting record?

    Most importantly; how does this Bend Republican think about the rights of all Oregon citizens to free access to ALL of Oregon's Rivers?

    I smell a rat!

    I smell a rat!

  • LT (unverified)

    I like Ben. He is cheerful, he talks with ordinary folks, he isn't preachy like the House leadership, he actually tries to solve problems rather than imposing ideology.

    I recall that wonderful speech he gave as a state rep. after returning to the House from cancer surgery. He gave a speech about the concerns of the next generation and not just the next election. He also said 2 other things: time to act like adults and do the job the voters sent them there to do (balance the budget) and time for more revenue.

    As a reminder to the person above who said RINO: There were jokes about that speech in the capitol afterwards by the sorts of folks who yell RINO whenever someone doesn't fit a particular ideology. Some of those who overheard were offended and wished a reporter had overheard the jokes.

    And then a counter joke was started about the ideologues who told the jokes: "What did they object to: new revenue or being asked to behave like adults?".

    Wake up folks! If every Republican voted for the Republican nominee and every Democrat voted for the Democratic nominee, the candidate supported by those not registered in a major party would win.

    I am not saying I agree with Ben on every issue. I am saying that Ben in the race defeats the "well folks, it will be a Kulongoski/ Mannix rematch and there is nothing to do to change that" commentary as well as those who just want nasty polarization instead of intelligent debate. Lots of people in this state have problems, and "taxes are evil, tax breaks for the well connected are a positive good" does not solve those problems!

    With Ben in the race, those who wanted to rely on nothing but sarcastic soundbites and ads would have to explain why their approach is better than Ben's approach.

    And as that great debate scene in West Wing showed, some candidates can't go beyond the 10 word answers. If asked a detail about what they said in a speech, these candidates get angry or their faces go blank.

    It is time for a campaign of "My solution is better than other proposed solutions because..." not just the attack ad and snappy soundbite.

  • Aaron (unverified)

    Let the fun begin.

    A Republican disagreeing with his party platform on the issues of civil unions and tax reform. Wow and progressive-leaning Republican elected offical--a rare and endangered species within that party.

    Maybe a RINO; maybe that a student of Vic Atiyeh and Tom McCall, conservative on some issues and progressive on others. Just like Teddy K. it is the "tint of your lenses" would differ what issues are progressive and are conservative.

    Maybe Vic would endorse Ben.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)

    Westlund's record shows constant support for the building industry and opposition to increases in the minimum wage. He refuses to support system development charges for schools which means when new developments are built the tab for new schools caused by these developments goes to established residents that had nothing to do with the need for these new schools. And that includes old timers now on fixed incomes that can't afford increases in their property taxes. When asked about this at a "town hall" meeting a couple of years ago he dodged the question and passed the buck to his former sidekick, Tim Knopp. Now that was a pair!!

  • Suedmeyer (unverified)

    I am a Republican, retired clergyman, experienced in being lied to by the religious "right" over the past 8 years! Very, very tired and profoundly ashamed of the shenanigans of my high-jacked party by this religious right! Seems from what I've seen that Ben Westlund is another part of that maze of shameful shenanigans!

    As a retired clergyman, I'm sure that Ben is a very devote Christian who loves the Lord and is trying to do right! But; there is a lot of magical thinking thinking going on in my party right now which must be stomped out!

    Ben Westlund is a part of those games! Be aware of him and his friends posting on this board, they will will destroy the values and integrity of our heritage!

    "Rivers of Oregon must be forever free!"

    Ask Ben where he stands on the issue of River Rights and the Cattleman's Association! Listen very, very carefully!

    Ben Westlund is SPECIAL INTEREST!

  • John Hummel (unverified)

    I am a member of the Bend City Council and worked this past legislative session as a lobbyist. In both capacities I have had the opportunity to observe Ben Westlund up close and personal. Ben is a straight shooter who is passionate about rolling up his sleeves and working on fixing the two biggest problems in our state, namely our revenue structure and health delivery system. He cares not one wit about party labels. He never considers the impact of one of his votes on his re-election chances. He stands up for the little guy. He is energetic and a leader.

    I know many of us like to say we vote for the person and not the party. However I bet most of us who spout this line have never voted for a member of the "other" party. Well, if you want to vote for the person, you will never have a better person to vote for than Ben Westlund.

    "Run Ben Run!!"

  • (Show?)

    I always vote for the person and not for the party. I vote on the person's integrity, skills, and - most importantly - positions on issues.

    Ben Westlund, like Gordon Smith, has taken a handful of high-profile stands on issues beloved by progressives.

    However, that doesn't make him a progressive. I'd suggest a look at his entire voting record.

    Just because someone is "passionate" and "rolls up his sleeves" and "stands up for the little guy" and is "energetic" and is "a leader" doesn't make them the right guy for the job. Sure, those are all good things - but they're all things you could say about Kevin Mannix too, yet he's still fundamentally wrong in his core values.

    Passionate + energetic + wrong = still wrong.

  • Ray Duray (unverified)

    Well isn't this interesting. I found it astonishing that anyone would think of running for Governor as an Independent. So I did some research. It turns out that there has been only one "Independent" elected Governor of Oregon since 1859. While Sen. Westlund may be positioning himself as a "progressive" by endorsing bedroom legislation, our last Independent Governor, Julius Meier , really was a progressive, pledging himself to work for publicly owned hydroelectric power on the Columbia River. I would like to know what Senator Westlund position might be on preserving public power in the Northwest. I don’t have any information on his record in this regard. Most of his Republican brethren would love to privatize the Bonneville Power Administration and double our electrical rates here in Oregon.

    However, I do have information on Sen. Westlund’s record of helping “the little guy”. As compiled by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Ben Westlund is on the record with one of the least labor-friendly records in the Oregon legislature as of the 2004 elections. His record in the recently ended session is not fully analyzed at this time, however he did vote to lower the minimum wage of of one industry (i.e., Restaurant wait-staff) which can hardly be considered a friendly gesture to “the little guy”. Such a vote was more of a sop to the owners of such a business.

    For those who are seeking a real progressive candidate, and are leery, as I am, of Senator Westlund’s record and intentions, I would strongly encourage readers to familiarize themselves with Democratic candidate for Governor, Lane County Commissioner Pete Sorenson. Mr. Sorenson is someone I can wholeheartedly endorse. Unlike any other candidate I am aware of.

  • hater-hater (unverified)

    So you people don't like Ben because he isn't pro-environment and is pro-business. Hey kids, guess what Gov. Ted is going to run as?

    You say, "Look at his whole record."

    OK....Ben voted more with the Democrats more than 4 Senators of the Democratic Party.

    You don't like Ben because he is a Republican. But if you can stop hating Republicans for two minutes you would see that Ben isn't a real Republican. He only runs as a Republicans so he can win in a district that is 46% registered Republicans.

    Ben is the best thing that could happen to the Democrats. If he runs as a Republican he will force the whole party to middle and limit the power of the Far Right Wackos (and if he wins they are gone).

    If he runs as an independent, Ben will become the Tom Cox of 2006 and win another term for Ted.

    If you think bad mouthing a Republican will make you a Bad Ass on the Blue Oregon website, please continue thinking that way...cause I'm not sick and tired of losing elections.

    But if on the off chance you are sick and tired of losing elections, please proceed to pull your head out of your ass and take a look at the vast and convoluted political landscape.

    Winning elections is much more complicated then just rooting for your favorite sports team. But as you haters have proved over and over don't know the difference!

  • Shane Kavanaugh (unverified)

    Blue Oregonians:

    I just wanted to mention that Pete Sorenson's official website is now If you go to you will find an older, more out-dated webpage.

  • LT (unverified)

    Ben Westlund doesn't waste his breath claiming to be a leader or a mediator. He does the actual work to solve problems. I am not saying that I agree with everything he has done. But then I don't agree with SEIU or Future Pac or any legislative leader 100% of the time.

    The beauty of the Internet is that people can research someone and then share those research results on a blog. You may find this overly long, but I thought it was important given some things said above. Read it, go to the websites, think for yourself. But don't believe you will convince people to support your candidate just by badmouthing someone who is often cheerful, capable of conversation with ordinary people, proposing ideas others seem to be scared of, actually doing the work and getting things done.

    I first became a Westlund fan when he said (in the Sept. special session) to a radio reporter "Gov. Roberts was right about Measure 5 in everything but the timing". Now, how many others with an R after their name have you ever heard say something nice about a Democratic elected official? And if I am not sufficiently "progressive" because I admire Ben Westlund for that and other things, then maybe I should re-register Independent as I was from late May 1996- March of 2003.

    Here's the result of the research:

    In endorsing Senator Ben Westlund in District 27, we based our endorsement on the extensive work he did with us in 2003 as he was recovering from major surgery at the time we were collecting the surveys.

    Friday, June 03, 2005 JEFF MAPES SALEM -- No other Republican legislator in the Capitol had a week like Sen. Ben Westlund of Tumalo.

    On Tuesday, the Central Oregon lawmaker and two Democratic colleagues filed a ballot initiative declaring that affordable health care is "a fundamental right."

    On Wednesday, Westlund joined Democratic Gov. Ted Kulongoski at a rally with a union-backed group...............

    But typically the governor’s and co-chairs’ plans are the jumping-off point for the debate. Because the two budget proposals are remarkably similar this year, the budget process could move quickly.

    “They got the co-chairs’ budget out very quickly ... and that’s very good for the process because it provides a clear counterpoint to the governor’s budget and a chance to really look at the issues that separate the governor and the co-chairs and the membership,” Marks said.

    Rep. Tim Knopp, R-Bend, said the January release is the soonest anyone at the Capitol can recall.

    In a key decision, Westlund and Hannon decided not to reduce the governor’s funding target of $5.2 billion for public schools, meaning the final budget allotment to K-12 education isn’t likely to change.

    A vocal opponent of several tax-cutting measures on the November ballot, Westlund said he disagrees with many conservatives who say Oregon government is bloated and wasteful — but he also disagrees with the liberal stance that government should do everything for people.

    “I believe in more efficient government, and government does a lot of good things,” he said. “Government is not the enemy.”

    Economy, tax code partly to blame for state's budget mess

    Published: January 4, 2004

    By James Sinks

    The Bulletin

    SALEM — Grab your pencil — and some antacid.

    Oregon voters face a choice between two unsavory scenarios when ballots reach their mailboxes starting in two weeks.

    They can support Measure 30 and watch taxes and fees go up, including a three-year income tax boost and a reduction in the discounts for paying property taxes on time.

    Or voters can torpedo the ballot measure — as polls suggest will likely occur — and trigger a new round of cutbacks to public classrooms, colleges, public safety and health-care programs. ................

    You can't help but wonder: How did we get into this mess?

    The short answer is that there is no simple answer.

    Measure 30 lets voters decide whether to enact the Legislature's balanced budget package, which would raise $800 million via a hodgepodge of taxes and fees.

    If it fails, service cutbacks are scheduled to begin in May.

    The linchpin of Measure 30 is the income tax surcharge, which would raise roughly $545 million in the current budget cycle, which ends in June 2005, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Revenue Office.

    The median Oregon family earning $48,680 a year would pay an additional $36 a year in taxes. A family that earns between $70,000 and $100,000 would pay an additional $177 annually.

    The package also calls for higher minimum taxes for corporations — now just $10 a year — and a temporary reduction in corporate tax breaks.

    If you're looking for a culprit for the state's fiscal woes, an obvious one is the economic nose dive. But that's not the only factor, said Sen. Ben Westlund, R-Tumalo, one of the assembly's budget-drafting experts.

    And while fewer dollars are arriving in state coffers, the public is demanding more from government.

    The population is climbing, more children are in classrooms, more people are out of work, and inflation pushes those costs higher, Westlund said. But the state's tax code also is largely to blame — and the downturn helped expose that Oregonians created much of the mess, said Bill Lunch, a political science professor at Oregon State University in Corvallis.

    A series of decisions by lawmakers and the public over the past 25 years left Oregon with an increasingly lopsided tax system, a lack of savings, a damaged credit rating and scant options in a downturn.

    "Someday, you hit the wall," Westlund said. ......

    Voters cut property taxes in 1990, 1996 and 1997 — yet passed an expensive prison-building mandate in 1994.

    Those cuts in local property taxes shifted the bulk of public schools funding to the state, he said. Prior to 1990, income taxes paid for about a third of school funding; that figure is now about 70 percent, he said.

    Oregon is now more dependent on income taxes than any other state, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Revenue Office.

    Yet for years, nothing seemed amiss. The booming economy helped to mask the fallout and the Republican-led Legislature and Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber ramped up spending, much of it to pay for voter mandates.

    "The revenue generated by the good times partially filled the hole," Lunch said.

    In addition, another voter-enacted measure, known as "the kicker," mandated tax rebates of more than $1 billion during the 1990s and created the impression Oregon was awash in money.

    But it all came crashing down in 2001.

    Lawmakers convened for a record five special sessions in 2002, emptying state reserves, borrowing, cutting programs and using accounting tricks to deal with tax collections that fell more than $1 billion short of projections.

    In the 2003 session, the state assembly froze wages and benefits for state workers, reduced spending for colleges and welfare programs, eliminated more than 1,000 jobs and overhauled the state's pension system.

    When lawmakers lacked the votes to cut any further, a coalition of moderate Republicans and Democrats hammered together a revenue proposal.

    The idea of an income tax boost during a recession isn't new. The Legislature and then Gov. Vic Atiyeh, a Republican, enacted a similar temporary tax to help weather the early 1980s downturn.

    Oregon is hardly alone when it comes to budgetary woes. All states experienced some declines during the current recession, but only one — Alaska — fared worse, Westlund said.

    "You take California with a sales tax and huge deficit numbers and they were only down 9 percent" in revenues, he said.

    He wants to reduce the state's reliance on income taxes, but concedes it will be tough to get voters to adopt some other tax.

    After all, polls show that when people say they support tax reform, they mean they want to pay less.

    Whether Measure 30 passes or fails, it is only a stop-gap plan and won't resolve the structural problems in the state tax code, Westlund said.

    "We've got to reform our tax system," he said. "That's the root of this problem."

    Rep. Gene Whisnant, R-Sunriver, said he wishes Oregon could be like the federal government, which doesn't have a balanced budget requirement.

    That way, the state could cut taxes without worrying about cutting programs or running a deficit, he said.

  • (Show?)

    i hope lots of republicans run as independents. a liberal republican independent. a religious wingnut republican independent. maybe a a gay hemp-growing republican independent. any number of ways they want to split their vote, i'm all for that. we're gonna whup them anyway, whoever our nominee is; oregon is a blue state, after all, and we are not going to let them out-work or out-think us.

    ben is a good guy, and we need more people like him to balance out the minnises. however, he's an R, he's not a progressive, and however disappoing gov ted is (settle down, jenni), he's better than anyone the Rs can bring along. including westlund.

  • Sunriver (unverified)

    "Whether Measure 30 passes or fails, it is only a stop-gap plan and won't resolve the structural problems in the state tax code, Westlund said."

    So what happened to the special session for tax reform then? Remeber the joint committee on tax reform touring the State? What a waste of peoples time. A real fools tour.

    All these chin rubbing wise asses declare we need tax refrom but only promote tax increases. When it comes down to reform they are liars plain and simple.

    That isn't leading, it's misleading. "Time certain" for tax reform is what Ben called the planned tax reform session.

    The only thing certain is he can't lead. And he certainly isn't going to be governor ever. Despite the confused souls who think he is keen.

  • LT (unverified)

    Is the goal to win people over or just to insult opponents? All these chin rubbing wise asses declare we need tax refrom but only promote tax increases. When it comes down to reform they are liars plain and simple. sounds like "HOW DARE anyone like the person I disagree with!".

    Exactly what tax reform do you propose? Or do you just want insults?

    I suspect many Oregonians are tired of such nasty polarization and want solutions---and nasty remarks are not likely to change the minds of those people.

  • Sunriver (unverified)

    "Exactly what tax reform do you propose? Or do you just want insults?"

    Are you limited in some way? I'm not proposing any "tax reform". I'm proposing that the Westlunds stop lying through their teeth about tax reform when they just want to raise taxes like they did prior to M30.

    The politicians who talk about tax refrom waste everyone's time with statewide hearings and promises of a special session for tax reform then cancel the whole thing because their rhetoric didn't work to sway the M30 vote.

    Most of the noise behind "tax reform" comes from those who want to raises taxes to fund the out of control rising costs of government programs and services while doing nothing on the cost/spending structure side or the ineffectiveness many programs whallow in.

    Polarization is not the problem. A high concentration of dishonest people in elected office is the problem.

    The public empoloyee unions are a disaster for the state beginning with the teachers's union. Reform? Kill the public employee unions starting with the OEA.

    There is no more insulting and nasty group in the State.

    You may be tired of "nasty polarization" but that's only because you appear to be part of the problem.

    This State can't recognize failure or do anything about it.

    From CIMCAM to the UGB to transportation "choices" dishonest people perpetuate failure.

    Then people like you run around telling people to shut up and take it because they aren't nice.

  • a confused soul for ben (unverified)

    To Sunriver

    The Special session on tax reform was sidetracked by partisanship.That's the real issue here... are the voters tired of it. Gay marriage fuss clouds special session on tax reform By Gazette Times Apr 12, 2004

    SALEM — The contentious fuss over gay marriage is producing a legislative split over plans for a June special session on tax reform.

    Major tax overhaul is a long-discussed but elusive goal in Oregon politics.

    Lawmakers, weary after two years of budget struggles as income tax revenue dropped, last year created an interim panel to "make recommendations on improvements to the state's tax system."

    The idea was that a tax revision proposal might be sent to voters this November.

    With a deadline just seven weeks away, the Joint Tax Reform Committee has held hearings around the state but has yet to come up with recommendations.

    Now, the session itself as well as the committee's results are uncertain. Democrats are resisting Republican pressure to debate gay marriage during the session.......

    ....Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, said there's no longer the needed majority support in the Senate to call a session. The chamber has a 15-15 partisan tie, and a session can't be convened by one house without the other's support.

    Republican House Speaker Karen Minnis, who's party has a 35-25 advantage in the House, said the Legislature is obligated to meet as planned and "not run from controversial issues," meaning gay marriage.

    Democratic lawmakers as well as Democratic Gov. Ted Kulongoski oppose her plan to have lawmakers consider sending a measure banning gay marriage to the ballot if it appears an initiative drive to do that will fail.

    "We anticipated talks about reforming the tax structure," said Senate Democratic Leader Kate Brown of Portland. "The speaker has changed that dynamic." The tax committee will resume meeting Tuesday "and take a look at whether June is meant to be or not," said Deckert.

    He said the committee will look over a spending limit-reserve fund plan being circulated by House Republicans that Minnis calls "a good first-step proposal."

    The idea is to clamp a constitutional lid on state spending, send any revenue above the cap into a reserve fund until it reached a given amount and then return any other excess revenue to taxpayers.

    "I have yet to have a senator lobby me in favor of the proposal," Deckert said.

    Detractors, who include some Senate Republicans, say the plan has little to do with tax revision.

    "I can't be satisfied with anything less than overall reform," said GOP Sen. Ben Westlund of Bend, a committee member.

    As a House member last year, he fervently argued that the state's heavy dependence on the income tax needs to be reduced.

    Along with gay marriage, he said, the voters' trouncing in February of a temporary income tax boost passed by the Legislature has further clouded reform efforts.

    "Half the secret of life is timing. This isn't the right time," he said. "There are too many political distractions that could come up."

    He said the committee should continue meeting through the year and send proposals to the 2005 Legislature.

  • a confused soul for ben (unverified)

    Sunriver- Thanks for exposing yourself.. you know this is blueoregon? The anti-tax, anti-union extremists meet over on rednorthwest.

    If people like you are against ben, it just affirm this democrat's support.

  • sunriver (unverified)

    If people like you believe that bullshit excuse story it just affirms my point that you are part of the problem.

    The reason the "tax reform" session never happened is because of the M30 vote meant there was zero chance of any "reform" including tax increases. Lying politicians didn't want their support for tax increases in the
    limelight in the run up to the November election. They didn't want their M30 stance or their tax reform/tax increase advocacy to lose them votes.

    Blue Ben has as much chance becoming governor as "tax reform" has.

    Fat chance.

    Gay marriage has a better chance.

  • (Show?)

    The problem I have with Sunriver's comments is that tends to draw away from a reasoned analysis of the issues. One thing I turn to Blue Oregon for is a multitude of opinions that are intellectually honest and clear-eyed as one can be within a framework of politics.

    Sunriver's posts obviously demonstrate a frustration with the weakness of the legislative process in Oregon, and I think that many share that frustration. However, the posts are basically rants in a discussion that started off being more interesting and adult.

    I very much appreciate LT's information. The one thing that struck as true for me was the Bulletin's article from January 04, 2004:

    "A series of decisions by lawmakers and the public over the past 25 years left Oregon with an increasingly lopsided tax system, a lack of savings, a damaged credit rating and scant options in a downturn.

    "Someday, you hit the wall," Westlund said. "We've got to reform our tax system," he said. "That's the root of this problem."

    While too simplified - I think that the key of the much shortened time horizon of our legislators and Governor plays a key role in their willingness to deal in political expediency. Perhaps naive, but I thought that in some ways the (thankful) loss of term limits would tend to work against an all-consuming, all-the-time short politcal vision.

    However, again a simiplification, it seems that being overly partisan pretty much cancels out the wisdom of multi-term legislators. What can be done? For one thing our good friends such as Karen Minnis, Wayne Scott and Ted Ferroli (the list goes on) can realize that "liberal/urban" democrats are not going away. At the same time our good friends on the liberal side of the aisle (not necessarily the Democratic) can remember that people with honest belief actually voted the conservatives into office.

    I recall the wisdom of our former legislators like Gretchen Kafoury who made deals and partnerships all the time with, what she at the time, would consider conservatives.

    On the soft side of things, for me, our legislators could spend their time off taking some field trips across the state to build a bit more trust in their relationships with people across the aisle.

  • LT (unverified)

    I wouldn't put Ferrioli in with Minnis. Disagree with him all you want. But years ago when the Republicans still controlled the Senate, I sent an email to 10 Republican Senators and he was the only one who responded. Exchanging emails over the years was very interesting.

    I've never had a conversation with Minnis or Scott, and my conversation with Richardson is detailed in about the 34th comment on that Blue Oregon topic about Richardson's North Korea crack.

    But I have had multiple one-on-one conversations with Ferrioli (more than I've ever had with Kate Brown, come to think of it". And at least some of the time, his heart is in the right place. In looking over my saved emails, I noticed that I sent him an email about a quote in the paper where he was thoroughly chastised by some other Republicans. I wrote him to say that he was right and they were wrong.

    Here is the quote from an article which inspired my email to him.

    Senate Minority Leader Ted Ferrioli, R-John Day, said he recently floated the idea of dedicating 2 percent of the existing gas tax to state police.

    "People looked like they were going to cut my heart out with a dull spoon," he said.

    That sounds to me like a proposed solution to an actual problem, not just trying to bean opponents over the head for questioning the "revealed truth " of Minnis et. al.

    So disagree with Ferrioli all you want, but please don't put him in the same category with Minnis.

  • (Show?)

    LT - I appreciate your view on Senator Ferrioli, and it was one that I had heard from others. It makes me have to look a little closer at what he is doing today, because when I was living in the Gorge I was dismayed by the strenousness of his attacks on the Columbia River Gorge Commission. Very nasty stuff without much of an interest in hearing why people might actually support the development limitations in federal protection area.

    Perhaps he has mellowed over the years.

  • LT (unverified)

    I think Ferrioli has mellowed. Maybe it was the 15-15 Senate. I recall talking to him in his office when he was working on his laptop, and he wondered why so many people were asking questions about some proposal (as brainless a proposal as the bucket plan). I said "Did you walk in to the computer store and say "sell me a laptop" or did you ask questions about memory size, programs loaded on the laptop, ease of operation, battery life?".

    He sort of looked at me blankly at the time, but since then I think he has come to understand that diff. people have the right to diff. opinions.

  • hold on there cowboy (unverified)

    Westlund is not a bad guy, in fact, I think the GOP needs people who can think independently on lots of issues. That being said, when it comes to the environment (water, forests, wildlife) he is right down there with Charles Starr (which is about the worst thing I can think of to say about someone). He sponsored and worked hard to overturn a court ruling that was preventing agricultural interests from continuing to dewater the Deschutes River. Fish and wildlife will suffer so more golf courses and mint farms can spread across the central Oregon desert, and Westlund is the reason why. Because he's willing to support gay rights (a bold and courageous stand) many of the Dems will go out of their way to overlook his less appealing positions. While he may or may not be free to be his own man as a Governor, as a Senator he's a bust on the environment.

  • Michael Funke (unverified)

    Westlund stood up at an event in Bend last year and endorsed George Bush for re-election. A real independent would have done differently. . .unless we're talking about an independent running at Kulongoski from the right. I'm no fan of Kulongoski. Won't be voting for him. But I'm not voting for a more coinservative independent either. And, yes, I do think it is important that we have a Governor that opposes and challenges the racist, anti-people warhawks who run the White House. Ben had his chance to do so last year and failed.

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