DATE: December 28, 2016
Editorial by Teri Grier
In 2012 when Democratic Representative Caddy McKeown was first elected, she beat her Republican challenger by nearly 3,300 votes. In her 2014 re-election, like most incumbents, she was able to increase her vote margin, beating her Republican opponent by over 4,700 votes. But in the two years that followed, McKeown began to lose the trust of voters in our community as she curried favor with Portland-area lawmakers and businesses.
During the last two years, Portland-area Democrats have marched McKeown up the hill on legislation that has increased fees to taxpayers and will harm small business. Voters noticed.
In a race where McKeown outspent me by nearly $250,000, she only won by 1,111 votes – a full 3,562 voters abandoned her in 2016. It’s my hope that as she heads into the next legislative session, she takes notice and remembers who she is supposed to represent.
Legislators in Portland are proposing everything from rent control to environmental policy that will make it even harder for those of us in rural Oregon to find work.
Our Oregon, the group that backed the failed Ballot Measure 97, a $6 billion dollar tax increase, is now trying to overturn the will of voters with a $4 billion dollar tax increase proposal.
Many of the same special interests that backed Measure 97 also back McKeown. Will she be able to resist her donors and stand with her community that opposed Measure 97, or will she support a revenue-raising package at our expense?
McKeown will serve again as chair of the Transportation Committee. In 2015, Democrats failed to pass a transportation package. The one that was proposed had plenty of giveaways for Portland-area lawmakers but very little for the rural and coastal parts of our state.
Additionally, the Senate President wanted millions in money to seismically retrofit the Salem Capitol, but little was to be seen in proposals for seismic dollars to protect coastal residents in tsunami zones. Will we be ignored again?
Even more disappointing is the disappearance of a committee dedicated to rural communities. Will McKeown continue to vote for a Speaker of the House who cares so little for the state outside her own insulated pocket of Portland?
The Portland-metro area has plenty of representation without Representative McKeown siding with them. Maybe she should consider running for Speaker, or supporting anyone else, who will prioritize the hundreds of thousands of Oregonians who don’t make Portland their home.
Voters are watching. We have a need for real infrastructure investments and leadership that will get our government spending in line.
We see how the rest of the country is bouncing back from the recession and enjoying economic boosts. It is unacceptable that Oregon’s huge budget deficit, caused by uncontrollable state spending that House Democrats fail to address, is continuing to stall Oregon’s economic recovery.
I respect the will of our voters in choosing Representative McKeown again. But we’re not going to sit by and watch as she continues to go-along-to-get-along with Speaker Kotek’s agenda.
The session starts next month. Let’s hope this election sends a strong message that voters want McKeown focused on the people who elected her, not downtown Portland agendas or special interests.
North Bend, OR
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