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Get to know your candidates: Patti Smith

Republican seeks fourth term in Oregon House
by: contributed photo, Patti Smith.

Six-year Republican incumbent Patti Smith seeks a fourth term in the Oregon House of Representatives. The 59-year-old resident of Corbett says that education and growth management are the biggest issues facing the 52nd District, which includes large chunks of Hood River County, East Clackamas County and a portion of East Multnomah County.

'We have to get a handle on dedicated funding for schools,' said Smith, who supported House Bill 2450, which would have earmarked 51 percent of the state's general fund for schools. The state doesn't reserve a dedicated percentage of its budget for education.

'If we could estimate an amount for school districts early, they could budget and establish what they're going to get. They need to know early, not until the last minute of session. I hope beyond hope that we'll solve this,' Smith said.

Also in education, Smith said she and State Sen. Rick Metsger are working to change how the state distributes funds to the school districts. 'One size doesn't fit all,' Smith said, noting that rural districts and urban districts have different financial needs.

Smith says transportation is one of the biggest issues in the Mount Hood area. Smith has worked to get a grant that will extend a safety corridor to 'no man's land,' the area just east of Government Camp, which would provide extra patrols for that stretch of highway and higher fines for individuals who speed there. That corridor is expected to take effect in the next month or two. She is also proposing legislation that would crack down on dangerous drivers by reducing the number of convictions needed to suspend a license.

In the last legislative session - and this summer's special session - Smith was the chief sponsor of 'Jessica's Law,' which institutes tougher penalties for sexual predators of children; and a large methamphetamine package that makes creation and distribution of the drug much more difficult statewide.

She is also working with Metsger and local public safety organizations to develop better emergency preparedness plans for the Mount Hood region, and she has drafted legislation that would keep the state's insurance program from increasing premiums too rapidly.

PATTI SMITH AT A GLANCE

OCCUPATION: Farmer; has worked as a homemaker, real estate agent, administrative assistant and child support enforcement officer.

EXPERIENCE: Three terms in the Oregon House of Representatives; former president of the Northeast Multnomah County Community Association; has been involved with the Oregon Grange, the Corbett School District and local historical societies. She serves as chairwoman of the Agriculture/Natural Resources Committee in the House, the Transportation Committee, the Joint Emergency Preparedness Committee, the Governor's Renewable Energy Working Group, the Columbia River Governance Committee, the Meth Task Force and the Identity Theft Working Group, among other boards and panels.

WHY RUN? 'I've always been a community activist; I care a great deal about the community. Now I've finally learned about all the issues, the complexities of the huge district I represent, and it's important for people to have someone to represent them who knows their issues, understands them and works hard.'

CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTORS INCLUDE: Nike, Georgia-Pacific, Mt. Hood Meadows, Johnson and Johnson, Idaho Power, ParkPAC (manufactured housing lobbyists), Anheuser-Busch, independent contributors from around the district and Portland metro area.

ENDORSEMENTS INCLUDE: Ag-Pac, Oregon Farm Bureau, Oregon Nurses Association, Oregon Landscape Contractors Association, NFIB (National Federation of Independent Business), Oregon State Police Officers' Association, AOI - Associated Oregon Industries, OPUDA - Oregon Public Utility District Association, Association of Oregon Loggers, Oregon Automobile Dealers Association, Oregon AFSCME (municipal employees), Portland Metropolitan Association of Building Owners and Mgrs (BOMA), Amalgamated Transit Union Division 757, Oregon Nurseries Association (ONPAC), Oregon Health Care Association (OHCA), Oregon Business Association (OBA PAC), National Rifle Association, Oregon Police Chiefs for Safer Communities, Citizen's Alliance for Responsible Education (CARE), Oregon Council of Senior Citizens (Jim Davis), Stand for Children

MORE INFO: 503-668-1106 (Sandy office), www.leg.state.or.us/smithp.

FINAL THOUGHT: 'I think the one thing that I've done really successfully is work with all the constituents. I try to be available. They have access to me. Whatever the issues are, call me and I'll respond.'