Our state has a great tradition of innovations to improve the lives of Oregonians. But recently the pace has stalled. We need to regain our momentum. My record of action proves I can do this. For example:
Last winter House Speaker Tina Kotek asked for my help. The Coffee Creek women’s prison is at capacity and a new one must be built unless we can bend the rising curve of inmate population. A main driver is mandatory sentencing for property crimes enacted a decade ago by ballot measure.
Speaker Kotek appointed me co-chair of a work group that included representatives of District Attorneys, sheriffs, police chiefs, and public defenders. Our group proposed changes to mandatory sentences for property crimes and they were enacted. As a result, the state projects that the incarceration rate will fall by 11% over the next decade. If the projection holds, the new women’s prison will not be built.
In 2009 the Metolius River region of central Oregon was threatened by two proposed destination resorts. At its headwaters the Metolius emerges from the base of Black Butte to flow cold and clear through towering stands of Ponderosa Pine. The proposed developments would have spoiled this natural grandeur.
As a member of the Land Conservation and Development Commission, I worked with the Governor and legislators to get new authority for protection of natural areas. After it passed, our Commission designated the Metolius region as an “area of critical state concern.” That protection stopped the proposed resorts and the Metolius remains pristine.
In 2005, as Vice-Chair of the Judiciary Committee in the Oregon House of Representatives, I confronted the crisis of home meth labs. Addicts would buy or steal over-the-counter cold remedies containing meth as the active ingredient. These would be “cooked” into pure meth in a home lab, poisoning the rental property and those who live there, often including small children.
Some urged us to expand the “war on drugs” by just cranking up prison time for meth offenses. But we found a better solution - requiring a doctor’s prescription for the cold remedies. We passed it over the opposition of drug company lobbyists. And it worked. The next year the number of home meth labs found in Oregon dropped from hundreds to a handful.
I am proud of these achievements. More importantly, they prove I’m ready to take on new challenges in the Oregon Senate.Back