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Monday, January 14, 2008

Why I am running for Oregon Senate District 23, pt 3 (experience)

I described my qualifications to succeed Senator Avel Gordly in the Oregon Senate in terms of my life experience in Parts 1 and 2.

Here, in Part 3, I will describe my qualifications for the office in terms of my five years plus of legislative experience, five years of serving the constituents of Senate District 23 and the people of Oregon:

Management: I have managed Senator Gordly’s Capitol and Senate District 23 offices since January, 2003 and have the management experience to keep the Senate District 23 offices running smoothly and efficiently, and five years of experience working successfully with all parties to the legislative process.

Constituent Communication: I developed Senator Gordly’s listserve, improving our ability to communicate key information directly with constituents, unfiltered, electronically, efficiently and at no cost to taxpayers. We do no conventional bulk mailing from these offices. We post all general messages from Senator Gordly permanently on our office website at

Constituent Service: Our focus on constituent service and problem solving, coupled with the speed of the Internet and our relationships among state and local agencies, has enabled us to bring resolution to a wide range of constituent concerns, often within hours of receiving the original contact.

I coordinate the statewide Mental Health Caucus, co-chaired by Senator Gordly, State Representative Ron Maurer (Grants Pass) and Oregon Advocacy Center Executive Director Bob Joondeph. The Mental Health Caucus has grown to more than 150 participants, including legislators, advocacy groups, mental health professionals, consumers, state and local agency heads, public safety representatives, family members and physicians.

Senate Legislative Achievements: I have established a record of significant legislative accomplishment in the Oregon Senate, even as a staff member:

My 2003 testimony and Senator Gordly's strong support led to the appointment of the Senate President's Task Force on Parental and Family Abductions.

Senate Bill 1041 “Aaron’s Law” (2005) was my original legislative concept, establishes civil liability for persons who kidnap children from the state of Oregon and authorizes the courts to appoint mental health and legal professionals to safeguard the interests of the abducted children.

Senate Joint Resolution 31 (2005) honors the life and achievements of Jim Pepper, the Native American saxophone player and composer, arguably the most important original voice in American music to emerge from Oregon.

Senate Bill 431 (2007) (passed on unanimous Senate and House votes) establishes new rules governing predatory patrol towing, provides protections for all drivers and for apartment dwellers in particular.

Senate Bill 116 (2007) regulating the towing industry. My contribution were the lines authorizing the State and local governments to regulate predatory patrol towing practices and the outrageous charges patrol towers impose on the public (many thanks to Tim Barrett for your fine research).

I have drafted other significant original legislation over a wide range of issues, including the war in Iraq, support for veterans and National Guard members and their families, immigration reform, promoting child safety and revenue reform.

Senate Committee Experience: My direct experience in the Oregon Senate, providing support to Senator Avel Gordly during her service on key legislative committees addressing human services, education, state and local budgets and public safety has familiarized me with the issues of greatest importance to our Senate District 23 constituents.

Once elected, I will seek to serve on these same committees, continuing the work of Senator Avel Gordly, continuing the fight. Those of you who have fought alongside us know that there is much more work to be done, that we cannot afford to lose ground with Senator Gordly’s retirement.

Once elected, I will ask leadership to appoint a Senate Veterans Affairs Committee to focus on our veterans, our National Guard and their families. There is currently no Senate counterpart to the House Veterans Affairs Committee. Five years into two foreign wars, these Oregonians have critical needs that are not being met.

Veterans living in Oregon are greatly disadvantaged compared to many other states. The lack of large military bases or defense contractors in Oregon means that we have less clout in Washington, D.C., and a reduced support infrastructure for our veterans and their families. Once elected my goal would be to serve on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.

My experience staffing Senator Gordly includes these committees:

2003 Regular Session

Joint Ways and Means (full)
Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Services

2003-04 Interim

Joint Emergency Board
Joint Emergency Board Subcommittee on Education
Senate Interim Committee on Education
Joint Committee on Human Services
Senate President’s Task Force on Parental and Family Abductions (co-chair)

2005 Regular Session

Joint Ways and Means (full)
Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Public Safety (Chair)
Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Education

2005-06 Interim

Joint Emergency Board
Public Commission on the Legislature

2007 Regular Session

Senate Commerce Committee
Senate Health Policy and Public Affairs, Vice-Chair
Joint Ways and Means (full)
Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee On Human Services

2007-08 Interim and February 2008 Supplemental Session

Senate Health and Human Services Committee (Vice-Chair)
Joint Ways and Means (full)
Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Services

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