For too long, Salem bureaucrats ignore public safety as a critical function of government. As someone trained as a first responder, I am disgusted by the obliviousness of state officials to address the criminal elements in our community.
We need to hold government bureaucrats accountable for their failures to protect life and property. If a crime is committed, victims have a right to expect the justice system to respond without pause or reservation. I am disgusted by the district attorneys refusing to prosecute cases, setting criminals free and letting them escape to our community.
I am particularly concerned about organized crime in Southern Oregon. Despite disagreements with the legalization of marijuana, it is a promising opportunity to draw economic activity to our region. With that said it needs to occur responsibility. I am concerned that government has prioritized the former and forgotten about the latter.
We need to drastically increase state funding for law enforcement to tackle the challenges posed by illicit marijuana operations. These grows are incubators for other illegal activity, such as human, drug, and weapon trafficking, that poses an imminent risk to people and property.
The right to vote is the bedrock of our constitutional government. Unfortunately, the events of the last two years demonstrate the government is ill-equipped at ensuring fair and free elections.
Whether we like it or not, the 2020 election is over. The challenges exposed by that election, however, are front and center for all of us. Our elected officials need to hold our election system accountable and ensure that bad actors are not allowed anywhere near our ballots.
I am particularly concerned about electioneering activities directed towards our most vulnerable. It is a violation of state elections law to fill out another voter’s ballot or direct someone to vote in a certain way. The laws enforcing that requirement are lackluster and I am deeply concerned that bad actors in and around senior residential facilities are taking advantage of our elderly.
It is also crucial that we maintain local control in our elections. Recently, Democrat Secretary of State Shemia Fagan threatened to take over the counting of ballots in Clackamas County after a printing error disrupted the usual procedures for processing returned ballots. To maintain trust in our elections, we need to shield our local elections from Salem taking over control.
Our schools were formed to teach our children reading, writing and mathematics. But lately, our schools have been pushing an increased agenda of sexual and identify politics. It’s time for parents to have a greater say in their child’s education. I believe that parents should know the curriculum their children are being taught, the curriculum should be age-appropriate, and parents should be able to opt out of lessons they feel are inappropriate for their child.
Virtual learning during the pandemic has harmed our children socially and academically. We need to repair these damages. I support bringing more local control to our school boards, school districts, and parents rather than the legislature, governor, and Oregon Department of Education. I will continue to support legislation that allows for greater transparency in the classroom, more school choice options for parents, and better outcomes for students.
Our local small businesses are inundated with new regulations and requirements in the state’s quest to solve every issue without fully vetting the solution. During one of the greatest economic crises of our generation, the state enacted new climate mandates, a paid family leave insurance requirement, and a litany of new taxes. How could a reasonable person expect our small businesses to survive all these efforts to tie your hands in red tape?
Salem needs to get out of the way and let our local communities and businesses get back on their feet. Rather than creating more behemoth government programs and requirements, the legislature needs to re-engage with the business community to seek ways the public and private sectors can collaborate to achieve policy outcomes. From my experience, the business community and government often share the same policy goals but disagree on the means to achieve them. For too long, the government has shut the door on businesses having a real voice. I think we should rely on you to lead the conversation.
Every year, our community braces for wildfire season. Whether the fires are caused by climate or man, they are devastating for our county. I was honored to be appointed to the House Committee on Wildfire Recovery in my first term. I have appreciated being a voice to advocate for the rebuilding after the fires, but we also need to do more to prevent fires.
Individuals and businesses spend their time and money creating defensible space on their properties, but we don’t require the government to do the same for their properties. I support requiring the government to meet the same fire safe standards as private properties. I support policies that give grant money to individuals to afford the upgrades needed for defensible space (and for making those grants tax free!). We live in an area that is susceptible to fire, but we can take smart actions to protect ourselves.
The government needs to live within its means. That means levying taxes to pay the bills, keep the lights on, and, if there’s anything left over at the end of the day, make investments in crucial programs. For all the talk in Salem about wanting more resources, my colleagues do not seem to understand their new taxes only chase the tax base away, making it more difficult to fund vital programs.
Over the last three years, Oregon has passed new partisan taxes costing individuals and businesses billions of dollars without any progress to show for it. Advocates said those taxes would drastically improve our schools, healthcare, and public services. I regularly talk with people in our community and the overwhelming consensus is that the quality of services has declined. We are living through the one-two punch of inflation and excessive government.
The legislature needs to practice fiscal discipline moving forward. The economy is feeling the hangover of government-mandated shutdowns and out-of-control government spending. As the legislature reels over a finite amount of resources, we need leaders to understand that government cannot be the solution to every problem. The legislature needs to eliminate wasteful spending and prioritize core responsibilities, including schools and public safety.
As Southern Oregonians, we are a hard-working, fiercely independent people. We may hold strong beliefs on various issues, but we are united in caring about our families and communities. We want a strong and prosperous Oregon and are willing to work resolutely for a better future.
Unfortunately, our rural way of life is constantly in the crosshairs of politicians and advocacy groups seeking to instill an urban culture throughout the state. It is inappropriate for one part of the state to dictate its culture on another. Salem needs to respect the diverse politics and cultures of the state and not force us to conform to the Portland way of life.
Whether the issue be guns, abortion, taxes, or the role of government in your everyday life, those issues are best decided at the local level. Our state leaders need to respect that our city councils and county commissions understand the needs of their communities best. We need to empower our local governments to represent their communities.