Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Lead the way, Oregon!

John Kitzhaber was sworn for an historic third (non-consecutive) term as governor of the Great State of Oregon.  He'll be governing a state that is in a bad way.  Our unemployment rate is 10.6%.  We face a $3.5 billion shortfall for our state budget.  Nonetheless, Governor Kitzhaber's speech was upbeat.  You can view the entire speech here.

Our state legislature is split evenly between Republicans and Democrats.  In the House, the split is 30-30.  In the Senate, Democrats have 16 seats, while Republicans have 14.  Unless the parties can find a way to cooperate, our state government could very easily be paralyzed even as our state is in crisis.

But I'm upbeat on that score.  For one thing, Oregon Republicans are not the frothing, neo-Confederate hillbillies that dominate the national GOP.  They never have been.  But more importantly, as the new session begins, our state legislators have already shown an amazing ability to cooperate. The House elected co-speakers Bruce Hanna (R-Roseburg) and Arnie Roblan (D-Coos Bay) and have set up a delicate and equitable agreement.  You can read about it here.

Governor Kitzhaber closed his inaugural speech with an impassioned plea to his fellow Oregonians that I believe should inspire all of us. 
Somewhere in America a state needs to be able to demonstrate that we can weather this kind of challenge without losing our sense of community, without losing our commitment to one another, and emerge stronger and more united than where we began.

Let’s make that our state. Let’s make that state Oregon.  --John Kitzhaber, January 11, 2011
We can work together.  We maybe can even inspire the rest of the nation, as we do it.  We're Oregonians, after all.

Congratulations, Oregon Ducks!

Last night, the University of Oregon Ducks football team lost the BCS Championship game to the Auburn Tigers, 22-19.

Tough loss.

It was a shock for me, I'll tell you.  I've watched a few Duck games this season and I didn't think there was any college team that could match them.  Hats off to the Auburn Tigers.

Three of my siblings and their companions were in attendance down in Glendale, AZ.  Duck fans and U of O alumni all.  There are surely some broken hearts among them as they come back to Oregon today.  And no progeny of Ross Cariaga is ever going to be content with second place.

As condolence, I cite the words of my friend, Dan Binmore [paraphrasing]:  Victory would be meaningless if it didn't hurt to lose.

Folks, I've been an Oregonian all my life.  And I am damned proud of that.  As we start this new year, between our state government and our Oregon Ducks, the reasons I am proud should be apparent to anyone.

Land of the Golden West.

NoteJeff Lucas is right.  Positive is better.

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