This is where you can see my answers to the common questions from people in District 56.
What’s your tax policy?
We have to balance our budget, and we have to do it with a progressive tax plan.
I am proposing the repeal of Measure 5, 47, and 50 provisions from the 1990s that “capped” and “cut” our local communities ability to raise their own taxes. Also, I’m proposing a modest statewide non-farm, non-commercial property tax on homes over the median real market value. In addition, I am looking forward to seeing a flat 8% business income (not sales) tax.
Do you approve of gun ownership?
Firearms are dangerous, but they are also tools in our toolbox. I believe that people have a right to possess and keep their guns. I also agree that this was designed to maintain a “well regulated militia.” I am in favor of enforcing background checks on all firearm transfers, and I would like to see firearm safety classes as part of our education of the youth in Oregon.
What can you do to help veterans?
Veterans are a major asset to our community, and often they have needs that must be met for them to continue to serve the people they swore to protect. I would like to see state supplemental funding to VA facilities in rural Oregon, and I think such a plan is feasible.
What will you do about PERS?
The Public Employee Retirement System is an essential incentive to maintain our public employees. The workers are our teachers, firefighters, law enforcement workers, school staff, road workers, and much more. These people are using skills that were they in the private sector would make more in salaries, but less in benefits. PERS is a “deferred benefit”, and an investment designed to attract people to the public sector. We may need to look at what the program can guarantee going forward to remain solvent, but it is necessary to keep people in public work.
What do you think about water rights and regulation?
In my part of Oregon, here in southern Klamath County, the Klamath Tribes have a senior water right established with a treaty between their tribe and the Federal Government. Our major irrigation project is predominantly supplied by a federal irrigation system. I have no intention of violating the rights of the Tribe in my community. The State of Oregon has the Water Resources Department that manages our ground water use along with the use by water appropriators. This management is necessary to make sure we can make it through “feast and famine” using scientific measures. However, I do think we can develop plans to retain, store, and capture more of our “windfall” rains and snow to better suit irrigation for our farms.
How will you fix our schools?
It’s no secret that our part of Oregon has struggled with school funding since the 1990s. I plan to target the lion’s share of our new tax revenue to small and rural schools. This would be to reduce class sizes, reopen schools, improve career technical education, and make us — once again — attractive to outside investment. This will improve our health, safety, and employment situations.