On 49 & 50, Kulongoski jumps in with both feet

Governor Ted Kulongoski is throwing himself into the campaigns to pass Measures 49 and 50. In the case of the tobacco tax for healthy kids, he donated $50,000 from his campaign committee - to provide a little seed money for the battle against the millions from the tobacco industry.

From the O:

On Monday, Kulongoski ordered a $50,000 check written from one of his two political action committees to go to the coalition supporting the cigarette tax increase. He's also on the fundraising trail to help environmental groups pushing for new land-use controls.

Kulongoski said the check to the Healthy Kids coalition will help offset what he predicts will be a blizzard of spending by tobacco companies to defeat the measure. "I'm estimating more than $5 million," he says.

J.L. Wilson, spokesman for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., said the anti-50 campaign will spend $3 million "and see where we are at that point." Tobacco giant Philip Morris, which also may join the opposition, hasn't revealed how much it will spend.

Learn more about Measure 50 and join the campaign at Healthy Kids Oregon.

On Measure 49, the Governor helped organize the steering committee that includes former Governors Barbara Roberts, John Kitzhaber, and Vic Atiyeh.

Kulongoski says he's determined to help pass [Measure 49's] new limits because they will help ensure Oregon's reputation as a state that cares about and protects its farms, forests and open spaces.

"The result of this election is going to be part of our quality of life," Kulongoski says.

Liz Kaufman, who is helping to run the pro-Measure 49 campaign, said Kulongoski's presence has helped. The governor helped ensure involvement by three former governors -- Democrats John Kitzhaber and Barbara Roberts and Republican Vic Atiyeh.

Learn more about Measure 49 and join the campaign at Yes On 49.

Both the land-use reform and health care for kids policy were major Kulongoski priorities during the legislative session, so it's not really a surprise that he'd back the campaigns. But Kulongoski identified political reasons why he's jumping in so whole-heartedly:

Kulongoski says he feels freer to take on controversial stands for two reasons. First, he has no plans to run for another political office. Second, he expects to work with a Legislature controlled by Democrats, so he worries less about how his actions look to Republicans.

"I intend to hit the finish line of this thing running at full speed," he says.


  • (Show?)

    Damn. I am more impressed every day by how the Governor is stepping up in a great second term.

  • Peter Bray (unverified)

    Kulongoski's disastrous first time in terms of the environment (casino in the Gorge, appointing GOPers to LCDC, lackluster opposition to M37) is one of the reasons that we have Measure 37. It's about time this guy actually moved out of neutral.

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    Gees. Why hammer a guy for the past when he's so clearly moved in the direction you seem to have wanted? That calls for a high-five, not a sour grapes retrospective. Go Ted!

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    Having the last 4 governors behind M49 makes quite a statement, IMO.

  • genop (unverified)

    You go Gov. Keep this up and you won't have to run for another term, we'll write you in.

  • poor farmer (unverified)

    Ted knows if he had stepped up to the plate prior to his last re-election he'd be in the unemployment line right now.

  • FED UP (unverified)

    The democrats hide behind slogans and misinformation about M37. "Quality of life" is not enhanced by abusing property owners, under funding schools & law enforcement, and decaying infrastructure. Measure 37 provides opportunities to fix these problems. Measure 49 is just more misguided hoo haw from the same arrogants hacks that got us into this situation.

  • Steve Monroe (unverified)

    Actually, I noticed that the article is skewed, using current information and facts for the first half and old information for the last. The first part dealing with the Cig-tax is current, the measure 49 stuff is old quotes painted over with Liz's pro-49 rah-rah.

    The big news on the hill is hat Ted is realllly pissed at the way his name was used on the Pro-49 mailers and has pulled all public support (and denial too) from their campaign for misusing his image to push their agenda. I doubt we'll see much more from him on this even though the damage is done.

  • FED UP (unverified)

    Measure 49 unfairly discriminates against senior citizens. Since Measure 37 allows the government to "waive" rules instead of pay "just compensation" and waivers are based on when the CURRENT owner took title to the land.....most of the successful M 37 claimants are elderly. The democrats are aware of this fact and it is central to their tactics. First the Attorney General issued an opinion that Measure 37 rights were personal and exclusive to the claimant. Although this is contrary to centuries of private property law it is part of their strategy to squash M 37. By delaying through any means available the plan is to stall until the claimants are too old to pursue development or dead. The strategy is ruthless, cold hearted, illegal and should be publicly challenged before the November ballot.

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    Wow, FED UP, you're so full of misinformation, it's hard to know where to start.

    First off, where do you think the money the government pays to landholders comes from? Look in the mirror.

    Second, if you really care about schools and law enforcement, why do you want the government to just give that money to large out of state timber corporations instead?

    Third, Measure 37 doesn't give "rights". It is a statute that gives landowners and their lawyers money based on theories of theoretical property value, paying them to file lawsuits that taxpayers are on the hook to provide the money for. So the idea that it's a violation of private property law that this so-called "right" isn't transferable is laughable on its face.

    You, "FED UP", are obviously a member of the new breed of Republicans. Instead of complaining about too much government intervention in your life, you just want to have other taxpayers provide you rich people's welfare. As such, you're not even ideologically consistent enough to garner any sort of respect.

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    Much as I think that all children (I'd say everyone) should have access to health care, and I'll be voting for Measure 50, I think it's a cop out.

    Funding children's health ought to be a part of the responsibility of every Oregonian, not just a minority of smokers. If the tobacco companies had to pay the money out of their profits, that would be one thing, but given the demographics of the smoking population, it's just another way -- like the lottery -- to downshift the tax burden.

    http://www.oralcancerfoundation.org/tobacco/demographics_tobacco.htm * Smoking prevalence was higher among adults living below the poverty level (32.3 percent) than those living at or above the poverty level (23.5 percent).

    If the intent is to make smoking so expensive that it drives usage down, then just do that and put all of the money into tobacco prevention programs, but funding children's health with a program designed to decrease its own revenue seems as if it's just going to create a different budgetary crisis in the near future. Funding a program for uninsured kids in a way designed to impact disproportionately on the less fortunate segments of society is pathetic.

    The middle-class folks who are still smoking can probably afford the increase. People lower down on the sconomic ladder -- probably a lot of the ones without health insurance -- are just going to have to cut back some on their smoking. Or any trips they make to the doctor. Or maybe food.

    I've never smoked, but I've heard that it's really hard to quit, especially when you're stressed out over being broke.

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    Having the last 4 governors behind M49 makes quite a statement, IMO.

    By which you mean, of course, four of the last five. Goldschmidt was between Atiyeh and Roberts. No one's bothered to ask him what he thinks.

    The big news on the hill is hat Ted is realllly pissed at the way his name was used on the Pro-49 mailers and has pulled all public support

    Got a source for that? Or just rumor-mongering? He's still on the website.

  • ellie (unverified)

    Thanks for the comedy, FED UP.

    <h2>Steve Monroe, I'm afraid that "big news on the hill" isn't really news... or on the hill, for that matter. Facts, schmacts -- typical OIA strategy. The bolder the lie (this time, quite literally), the more people will believe it (or something like that, eh)... Let's hope not!</h2>
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