Hermiston herald. (Hermiston, Or.) 1994-current, October 17, 2018, SPECIAL 2018 ELECTION EDITION, Page A7, Image 7

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Walden, McLeod-Skinner take on the issues
no problem with that and has
had multiple meetings on his
seven trips this year to Uma-
tilla County alone.
“I’m talking to people all
over the district,” he said.
But he does have a prob-
lem when people berate and
even threaten his staff, he
said, that’s become a regu-
lar occurrence at his office
in Bend. He said there’s is
more to the job than holding
town halls, and in the past 12
months he handled 129,500
correspondences through a
variety of means.
“So I’m deeply engaged
in all of this,” Walden
Republican Greg Walden
seeks an 11th term as the
U.S. representative for Ore-
gon’s 2nd Congressional
District. But he said this
election is different.
He is feeling heat from
some constituents. He has
paid for billboards. And
Democrat challenger Jamie
McLeod-Skinner said she
has now raised more than
$1 million. Still no threat to
the $3.2 million in Walden’s
account, but a good show-
ing for a Democrat in this
A look around Pend-
leton shows plenty of
McLeod-Skinner yard signs
and none for Walden. Still,
his visit Friday to town drew
all of four protesters outside
the Umatilla County Court-
house, Pendleton, while
about a dozen local public
and health officials crowded
into a conference room to
meet with the man.
McLeod-Skinner this week
talked about key issues in
the race.
How they see the
“We’ve got systems that
are broken,” McLeod-Skin-
ner said, with 50 percent of
district residents at or near
the poverty line.
She took that figure from
the United Way’s “ALICE
Report” for “Asset Lim-
ited, Income Constrained,
Employed,” which qualifies
the threshold as the average
income a household needs
to afford basic necessities
(housing, child care, food
and the like). The ALICE
This composite photo shows U.S. Rep Greg Walden and Jamie McLeod-Skinner, who is challenging him for the seat.
Threshold includes pover-
ty-level households.
U.S. Census data shows
13.8 percent of the district’s
population had income
below the poverty line,
while the median household
income is $51,813 and the
mean household income is
Walden said he does
not see 50 percent poverty
in the district, but pock-
ets lack economic recovery
and growth while others are
“This is really important
to make sure we’re not left
behind,” he said.
said growth hinges on
broadband. She also touched
on the need for a com-
pact between states so Ore-
gon could take more water
from the Columbia River
for growth. And she said the
Port of Morrow could be just
the place for a regional recy-
cling hub.
the “Trump bump” at 14
cents per bushel, and the tar-
iffs are endurable for now.
He contended the admin-
istration’s use of tariffs is
resulting in better deals with
Canada and Mexico, with
China as the big goal.
According to the Pew
Research Center, the U.S.
tariffs in 2016 across all
products was 1.6 percent.
Mexico’s was 4.4 percent
and China’s was 3.5 percent.
Health care
tural exports are jeop-
McLeod-Skinner said, and
the $4.7 billion bailout to
make up for losses is not the
“Farmers don’t want to
borrow money from China,”
she said, “they want to sell
wheat to China.”
Walden agreed, but he
said the wheat farmers he
talked to are going to take
McLeod-Skinner advo-
cated for doctors, nurses
and other professionals and
tradespeople to serve in rural
Oregon in exchange for the
cost of their education.
“When I think about
health care, I think about big
picture ideas,” she said.
That includes the consoli-
dation of services and indus-
try, she said, so patients
could obtain health insur-
ance through the govern-
ment or a public-private
Walden said rural broad-
band is essential to the dis-
trict’s prosperity. T-Mobile
has an “aggressive plan” to
build the next generation
of wireless communication
throughout Eastern Oregon,
he said, and other companies
are likely to follow. Walden
said public safety, educa-
tion, health care and busi-
ness all will benefit.
Amendment could
increase requirements
for tax vote
gonians will have a chance
to vote this November on
how much legislative sup-
port certain state tax laws
should need to pass.
The measure would
amend the state Consti-
tution to require a three-
fifths majority, or “super-
majority,” approval in
both the Oregon House
of Representatives and
Senate for changes to
tax expenditures such as
credits, exemptions and
If approved, the mea-
sure would also require
increases — for fish-
ing licenses, for exam-
ple — have supermajority
Given the current
makeup of the Demo-
crat-majority Legislature,
those measures would
require some Republican
support to pass.
In 1996, Oregon vot-
ers approved a three-fifths
majority requirement for
bills “raising revenue.”
This, supporters of
Measure 104 say, meant
that any bill modifying a
tax expenditure was inter-
preted to require a three-
fifths majority vote, and
this is how lawyers for the
Legislature interpreted the
Constitution for years.
But in recent years,
the courts have said that
in order to be considered
a bill for “raising reve-
nue” under the state con-
stitution, and thus require
the three-fifths majority,
a proposed bill must meet
two tests: it must collect or
bring money into the state
treasury, and either impose
a new tax or increase the
rate of an existing tax.
The measure would
essentially define what it
means to “raise revenue,”
and that definition would
apply to a broader range
of tax measures than the
current legislative counsel
Supporters of Measure
104 say that the measure
would encourage bipar-
tisanship and force law-
makers to work together
to write legislation that is
palatable to three-fifths of
Supporters also point to
Senate Bill 1528, passed
earlier this year by a sim-
ple majority, as an exam-
ple of legislation that, in
their view, should have
required a three-fifths
majority vote to pass.
That bill disallowed
Oregon taxpayers from
taking a new federal
deduction from their state
taxes. Had the Legislature
not acted to disconnect
from federal tax reforms,
projections showed tax-
payers would pay about
$1.3 billion less in state
taxes over the next six
Opponents of the mea-
sure, on the other hand,
say it could intensify a
culture of “horse-trading”
in the Capitol, and create
legislative gridlock.
If lawmakers know
that just a few votes stand
between the measure pass-
ing and failing, they could
withhold support until
they get something else
they want, opponents of
104 say.
They also say that it
could be harder to discon-
tinue tax expenditures that
no longer serve the pub-
lic interest, and force cuts
to services such as health
care and education.
And she wants to allow
for the negotiation with
pharmaceutical companies
to keep drug prices down.
Walden rolled through
Eastern Oregon on Friday to
talk about his bill that helps
local communities fight the
opioid crisis.
“This will save lives,” he
And he defended his vote
to end the Affordable Care
“Nobody gets kicked off
as long as you’re on Medic-
aid,” he said.
Connecting to the
supporters and Walden crit-
ics have hammered the con-
servative politician for his
lack of public town halls this
election. McLeod-Skinner
said that’s part of the job.
“No. 1 — show up,” she
Walden contended he has
Nov. 6, election night
McLeod-Skinner said if
she wins, she is heading to
Burns on Nov. 7 to attend a
public meeting. She said she
is committed to maintaining
connections with the people
of the district.
Walden said he remains
dedicated to working for the
district and the often quiet
work of passing bipartisan
legislation. He said 92 per-
cent of his 129 bills have had
the support of 10 or more
Democrats. The bill to fight
opioid addiction passed with
a wide bipartisan margin.
Political forecasting web-
sites show the House is
likely to flip from Repub-
lican control to Democrat,
but Oregon’s 2nd Congres-
sional District remains a
Republican lock. Fivethir-
almost 35 percent of the vote
and Walden winning with
about 61 percent.
That would be a drop of
about 11 points for Walden
since the 2016 election.
Brown, Buehler facing off for governor
Editor’s note: This infor-
mation was condensed from
a pair of Sept. 27 stories in
the East Oregonian.
Despite running for gov-
ernor on the Republican
ticket, state Rep. Knute Bue-
hler has increasingly used
the word “independent” to
describe himself. He says
he rejects the “narrow parti-
san labels” that have increas-
ingly polarized the nation.
“Oregon is hungry for an
independent-minded leader
who is able to close a lot of
these divides ... and is a gov-
ernor for everyone no matter
who you are, where you live,
who you love or even how
you are registered to vote,”
Buehler said during a Sep-
tember editorial board meet-
ing of the Pamplin Media
Since his election to the
Oregon House of Represen-
tatives in 2014, Buehler has
voted both with and against
his party.
This is the second time he
has challenged Democratic
incumbent Kate Brown for
state office. That last time
they faced off was for Ore-
gon secretary of state in
2012, a race won by Brown.
Brown — the nation’s
first openly bisexual gov-
ernor and the face of pro-
gressive policies such as no
co-payments for reproduc-
tive health care — is seek-
ing a final term as Oregon
As a Democrat, Brown
enters the race with an advan-
tage among the state’s liber-
al-leaning electorate. Her
campaign has focused on her
wealth of political experi-
ence beginning in 1991 and
has sought to discredit Bue-
hler’s claim to support pro-
choice policies.
In response to Buehler’s
outreach to Independents,
nonaffiliated voters and even
Democrats, Brown has high-
lighted the times when she
brought conservatives and
liberals together to address
shared problems. Last year,
for instance, she negotiated
with Republicans to secure
their votes for a $5.3 billion
transportation package.
“I’m the only one in
Knute Buehler
Kate Brown
the race that has a track
record of bringing Orego-
nians together to tackle dif-
ficult issues facing Oregon,”
Brown said during an edi-
torial board meeting with
Pamplin. “I’m a consensus
builder and a collaborator.
And that’s the same kind of
strategies I’ll use if Orego-
nians give me the opportu-
nity to serve as governor for
four more years.”
Buehler released an ambi-
tious outline earlier this year
to boost the state’s public
education system from bot-
tom five among the states to
the top five in five years.
One of Brown’s top pri-
orities for another term is to
improve the state’s four-year
high school graduation rate.
The first part of her strategy
is to follow the statute that
voters approved with Mea-
sure 98 in 2018.
Brown says she will seek
to nearly double the invest-
ment in high school career
and technical education to
$300 million in the next bien-
nium. Secondly, she wants to
expand access to prekinder-
garten programs to an addi-
tional 10,000 students. She
wants to expand the school
year to 180 days from 165.
Finally, she wants to look for
ways to improve teachers’
access to professional devel-
opment and mentoring.
Health care
Buehler has pledged to
protect Oregonians from
federal cuts to the Medic-
aid program, which provides
health care subsidies for
low-income residents, and
to advance the state’s inno-
vative coordinated care orga-
nizations. He said he wants
to integrate mental health
care into the Oregon Health
Plan — the state’s version of
Medicaid — and in health
care delivered by those
CCOs. He says he supports a
woman’s right to choose but
has been criticized for vot-
ing against the state’s Repro-
ductive Health Equity Act,
which bans a co-payment
for reproductive health care,
among other things..
One of Brown’s priori-
ties is to increase the num-
ber of insured adults from
94 percent to 99 percent and
insured children from over
98 percent to 100 percent.
Buehler has proposed
creating 4,000 emergency
shelter beds statewide to
get homeless residents off
the streets, partly with state
funding and partly with fed-
eral and philanthropic con-
tributions. He supports mea-
sures to fast-track housing
development and offer prop-
erty tax abatement to incen-
tivize the construction of
affordable units. He also is
a proponent of tweaks to the
state’s land use laws to make
it easier to build affordable
housing in areas that are now
outside the urban growth
Brown has pledged to
request $370 million from
the Legislature for affordable
housing incentives and hous-
ing assistance in the next two
years. Since she became gov-
ernor, lawmakers have allo-
cated $300 million to assist
in building affordable units,
programs and rental assis-
tance. Oregon Housing and
Community Services has
awarded subsidies and tax
credits to build about 15,000
units in the past three years.
Public Employees
Retirement System
Buehler says he would
move the pension program’s
$25 billion in unfunded obli-
gations to retirees to the top
of his agenda.
“I won’t sign any new
spending bills until I have
a PERS reform bill on my
desk,” he said. Reforms he
would like to see would:
cap annual payouts to future
retirees at $100,000 per year;
require public employees to
contribute to their retirement
fund; and transition the pen-
sion plan to a 401(k) retire-
ment plan.
Brown has spearheaded
some modest changes to
the pension system, such
as incentives for public
employers to pay off debt.
She said she wants cov-
ered workers to have “skin
in the game,” and noted that
after recent rounds of collec-
tive bargaining, 98 percent
of state workers will pay 6
percent of their salary for
their pension side accounts.
That contribution has long
been paid by the state.