Governor Brown’s State of the State Doesn’t Quite Represent Oregon’s Reality
I enjoyed reading the Oregon's State of the State speech, written by Governor Kate Brown's speechwriters and read by her on Friday at the Portland City Club. The speech describes the "good times" in Oregon, experienced by some in our great state. For far too many, times are far from good.
Governor Brown stated, “Ninety-five percent of Oregonians who want a job, have a job." This statement demonstrates a complete misunderstanding by Governor Brown, and her speech writing staff, of the true job situation in Oregon. Oregon has four million residents, and 63.5 percent, or 2.54 million residents, are of working age. Oregon currently has approximately two million jobs, of which 500,000 are part time. This means that roughly one million Oregonians of working age are not working or are only employed part-time. While some are students, disabled, or retired, several hundred thousand Oregonians would like to work, if they had the skills/training and employers with available jobs to employ them. The Governor, and her speechwriting staff, certainly know that the long-term unemployed, who are no longer looking for work, are not counted as unemployed.
Approximately one in five Oregonians require food stamps for adequate nutrition, and our per capita income greatly lags behind both Washington and California. Our schools rank near the bottom in graduation rates, and the educational performance of our high school graduates is poor. Our PERS retirement system also threatens to bankrupt our public institutions. This deterioration occurred during Governor Brown’s twenty-four years of "service," both as legislator and as Secretary of State.
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It is becoming clear to many citizens that career politicians ultimately become beholden to the powerful and to the special interests. In this, Governor Brown is a typical career politician. To restore economic prosperity for our people, we will need to encourage small business startups, which are at near historic lows. We must encourage a resurgence in manufacturing and develop a natural resource-based economy, all of which must be sensitive to environmental concerns. Governor Brown's "policy successes," touted in her State of the State speech, favor big business over small, harm our manufacturing sector, and prevent economic use of our natural resources.
Our founding fathers would be horrified to learn that lifelong, “professional politicians” are now the norm in America. My life, spent in rigorous academic training, a demanding career as a doctor and small-business owner, in service to the people thru the military, and as a leader in philanthropy, has prepared me to be a citizen leader—Governor of our state.
I ask Oregonians to reject the failed leadership of Governor Brown and to embrace a new vision and a new direction for our state.
PSA: Ballots will be going out at the end of the month. Make sure to vote before the election on May 17.