We made a difference, we can do it again

We made a difference, we can do it again

I’m new to the legislature.  I’ve spent years looking in from the outside and I was thrilled and humbled to be elected to the legislative assembly where I could actually make a difference.

Some days are worse than others.  Most everything that makes it to the floor, passes.  Much of it is inconsequential, but some of it hurts.  Like carve outs for trial lawyers, or unions.  Or having to fight to get schools funded at a level that’s barely adequate.  I tell myself that elections have consequences, and that we all need to work harder next time.

Some days are better than others.  Like last Friday.

I testified in front of the education committee for a short time in favor of a bill, HB 2830, that would prohibit the Department of Education from requiring school districts to implement Common Core instruction or assessment.  In case you haven’t heard, Common Core is just the latest top-down, cookie-cutter approach to education that won’t work.  If I get my way, it won’t even get a chance.

Last Friday afternoon, after I gave my short testimony, I sat down in the back of the room and watched as fellow citizen after fellow citizen got up and testified in favor of the bill.  Some were School Board members.  Some were parents.  Some were just plain old ordinary citizens.  Many were my friends.  A few more are now my friends.  It was great to watch.

We were lucky to be there.  The chair of the committee didn’t have to let us even have a hearing, but for the last few weeks, my fellow citizens pleaded with the chair for a hearing.  The next step is to have a work session and vote it out of committee to the floor.

If you want the names of some people to pester, members of the House Committee on Education await your emails.  You might politely thank them for hearing testimony on HB 2830 and ask them if they can give it a work session and vote it out to the floor.

You never know.  Your actions might just inspire a legislator who sometimes feels just a little bit overmatched.

State Representative Mike Nearman (R-Independence) is working hard for you on issues like this.  He can be reached at rep.mikenearman@state.or.us.

Enough Seems to Not Be Enough

Enough Seems to Not Be Enough

The real problem in Oregon is that government just doesn’t have enough money.

At least you’d think that’s the problem from listening to Oregon House Democrats.  Never mind that Oregon has the sixth highest gas tax and the 17th highest total automotive taxes and fees among the states.  Disregard the fact that Oregon businesses are hobbled by the effects of the impact of the tax increases imposed by measures 66 and 67.  Apparently this recession was just too much fun for some and we just can’t stand letting the economy expand and grow out of it.

Middle class Oregonians have spent over half a decade laboring under the yoke of a stagnant economy.  After six years of recession – and even longer of Democrat rule – the Governor brags in his fourth inaugural address that we’ve finally gained back the jobs we lost during the Great Recession.  Really?  Is that supposed to be some sort of consolation prize?

What about our crumbling infrastructure?  What “crumbling infrastructure”?  I challenge anyone to drive South through California or just about any other state and let me know when you return – if you return – how the roads compare to Oregon’s.  I’m sure we can improve them, but they’re a far cry from crumbling.

And, if they are in such bad shape, why are we not prioritizing resources and executing simple, necessary fixes with the limited transportation dollars we have?  Instead, we spend hundreds of millions of dollars on studies for a temple to light rail.  When the dust settled, we were left without a bridge and a more than $180 million dollar hole in the wallet.

So, here we are in the winter of 2014-15 and the middle class finally gets a break on the price of gas.  Through circumstances not under the control of anyone in this state, Oregon gas prices are teasing the $2.00 a gallon mark.  Thanks to a bit of squabbling at OPEC and some fracking here and there, everyone – rich, poor, individuals, families, and businesses – has been given a graceful lift.  And now the party in power wants to take it away.

We middle class Oregonians finally get the break that we need to get back on our feet and jump start our economy.  And then some want to take it away.  We middle class Oregonians will remember.

State Representative Mike Nearman (R-Independence) is one of those middle class Oregonians that just loves low gas prices.