Top issue: Breaking out of the boom/bust cycle of past

by: Submitted photo,

What do you see as most important issue of the 2007?

The most important issue of this session is whether Oregon will break out of the boom/bust cycle under which it fails to accumulate reserves during good times and slashes services to balance the budget when revenue falls. With a strong economy, we must begin to accumulate an adequate reserve fund.

List three other issues that you think must be addressed:

* Fixing the problems with Measure 37 so it accomplishes what voters intended without destroying our land use system.

* Increasing funding for public education at all levels.

* Extending health coverage to all kids.

What issue do you fear will get MORE attention than it deserves, and why?

The session is likely to see attempts to create dedicated revenue for specific public services. As a general matter, I oppose dedicating revenue to a particular state agency because doing so interferes with the Legislature's ability to make the best budgeting decisions. It also prevents the agency from being held accountable for performance problems.

What's one issue that won't rise to the top of the Legislature's agenda that you will champion, and why?

The rapid increase in the inmate population in state prisons should get more attention than it's likely to receive. The inmate population has more than doubled over the past dozen years. In that time, the state has built several new prisons, but no new colleges or universities. We need to make sure we're being smart about how we spend public dollars.

What's one issue of particular interest to your constituents in our readership area (Lake Oswego specifically) that you will be monitoring. Please explain the issue and your initial thoughts on what needs to be done.

Water quality is a concern to this community, particularly with respect to Oswego Lake. Run-off from both agricultural lands and developed areas in the Tualatin watershed appears to be a significant contributor to the problem. The Legislature needs to make sure the Pesticide Use Reporting System created several years ago is operating effectively so the state can address the sources of this problem.

How do you think the change in legislative leadership will affect the overall session?

A number of proposals that were killed by the former House leadership in the 2005 session by not allowing them to come to a vote now can move forward. Others that passed the House in 2005, but died in the Senate, won't move forward at all. Bills still have to be passed by both the House and Senate to become law, but the mix of issues that come to a vote will be different.

How do you think the change in leadership will affect you, personally?

I have been appointed chair of the House Judiciary Committee, which would not have happened without a change in party control. As one of only four lawyers serving in the House, I believe I can bring useful skills and experience to leadership of the Committee.

Complete the sentence: We'll know Gov. Ted Kulongoski is having a good session if by March 1, at least three leading proposals from his legislative agenda have been passed by either the House or the Senate.

Complete the sentence: We'll know you are having a good session if by March 1, at least one bill from my personal legislative agenda has been passed by the House and hearings are scheduled on at least three others.

What's one thing you learned from this most recent campaign that you'll take with you to Salem?

I campaigned door-to-door across the state on behalf of a number of the new House members whose election shifted control of the House. From that campaigning I learned about the diverse views of Oregonians. When I decide how to vote on bills in this session I'll understand the wide range of perspectives held on them.