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Where I stand on issues


When you want to see change, you don’t wait for someone else to do it; you make change happen. As a mother, business owner and military spouse, government has collided with my world in ways I never imagined. When I was elected, our community gained a voice for families that was missing in Salem. And in two years of being your representative, I’ve learned much about voters in our community.

The most important lesson I’ve learned is voters don’t want “politi-speak.” Politi-speak is my word for when elected officials talk down to voters with arrogance and contempt for their concerns. It’s when the truth is skirted by conveniently twisting polite words. Seemingly, it’s a requirement in politics.

Apparently, I didn’t read the manual. You see, in politics, blunt truth is a disruptive technology. Being blunt is rare, but voters want to understand the truth about why education isn’t working, which roadblocks keep us from creating jobs and where the heck our tax dollars are going. The two years I’ve spent telling voters what’s really happening in Salem has resulted in special interest groups pouring money into my opponent’s race against me.

An example of politi-speak happened in this newspaper last week. A convenient political parlor trick that happens before elections; when you’re down, deflect. In September, I called out Carl Hosticka for his campaign team’s disruptive behavior at my town hall. In his response, he expressed outrage that I could have suggested such a thing, calling it mudslinging. However, during a videotaped joint editorial board interview with Willamette Week, Carl admits his team lied after all. The Oregonian has admonished Carl twice for putting out false statements about my education votes. They also questioned his negative campaign tactics about my vote on the education budget.

Unless you’re a politico, keeping track of candidate statements and piecing together the entire picture of a campaign is difficult. Negative messages become inundating. In Hosticka’s plea to “put down the mud” he failed to mention that almost immediately after losing key endorsements like the Oregon Nurses Association and Stand for Children, his campaign began sending numerous negative mailers.

Three days before Community News published his “no mud” column , Hosticka authorized more than $100,000 of negative television ads. I have no such ads on television. On the same day your newspaper arrived in your mailbox, so too did a negative flier from Hosticka’s campaign repeating a claim The Oregonian already fact-checked as false. Once again, I’m embarrassed an elected official would be less than truthful to the community he hopes to represent. House Democrats spent about $200,000 dedicated to negative TV ads and mailers against me in 2010. They’re tracking to spend the same amount again in 2012.

I’m proud of my campaign team and the way we’ve chosen to conduct ourselves. I don’t mind being challenged on issues when criticism is fairly presented. However, negative letters to voters from people like Alan Spencer, a school teacher I’ve never met who supports Carl, are entirely disingenuous.

I understand it’s impossible to agree with every voter on every issue. I don’t agree with my husband on every issue. But if you ask me where I stand on issues, I will tell you. That’s my commitment to voters. If anything, being blunt ensures you won’t hear politi-speak from me.

Rep. Julie Parrish (R-West Linn/Tualatin) is running for re-election for House District 37.