MY VIEW: Missing Mannix, one Republican plans a write-in
It's not like I am the only Republican Catholic working within the halls of state government, but sometimes I feel like a penguin wandering the tropics.
Oregon state government is filled with wonderful and dedicated employees, but we seldom see eye to eye on politics. I certainly share their frustration on the state budget, though.
From being present on an interagency task force one morning when a sergeant had to lay off a dedicated state police detective to receiving a pink slip myself and having to temporarily demote to save my job, I have seen the trouble state budget cuts bring - up close and personal.
I'm uneasy with Democratic Gov. Ted Kulongoski. I just haven't seen him do anything remarkable or bring new or innovative ideas to bear upon state government. It's just more of the same business as usual - and with no inspiration.
In the primary, I was a strong supporter of gubernatorial candidate Kevin Mannix, a prime example of a compassionate and intelligent conservative. As a state worker, I never sensed that Mannix's idea of a good time would be massive state employee layoffs.
I'm not so sure about Republican gubernatiorial candidate Ron Saxton. Like one of his predecessors on the campaign trail, Bill Sizemore, I imagine Saxton would be hosting a picnic at the prospect of looming layoffs. My concerns also were not laid to rest when my e-mailed questions to him went unanswered.
I'm afraid that I've contracted Bill Sizemore on the brain. It's a recurring condition that afflicts many Republicans, but especially us conservative state employees. The symptoms are embarrassing to recount. You see, I look at Saxton, and, try as I might, I see Bill Sizemore's grinning face staring blankly back at me.
Sadly, my condition doesn't stop there, because Bill is always wearing the same outfit in his mental appearances. Time and again, Bill is sporting plaid golf slacks and a tattered 'Sizemore for Gov' T-shirt.
That's not the worst of it, though, since he's gleefully tossing handfuls of initiatives and signature sheets high into the air and twirling around on his toes as the papers are caught up in the breeze.
Before I know what is happening, he breaks into song, and I struggle to pull myself back to reality.
Yes, there may be some issues for a good therapist here, but the bottom line is that even a conservative state employee has to feed his family and pay the mortgage, and I can't quite persuade myself to trust this Ron Saxton/Bill Sizemore guy.
That's why, after much thought and deliberation, I have decided to submit a write-in candidate this year.
This trusty candidate has a mind of her own, and she's not afraid to tell others what's on it. She also has keen interest in the continued health of the fishing industry - salmon, in particular. This is why I will be voting for our cat, Buttercup, on Nov. 7.
Karl Bjorn Erickson lives in Salem.