Advocate Endorses Brown for Governor

Honesty Beats Buehler Doubletalk.

Kate Brown is the right choice for governor if you care about your pocketbook, the environment, and equal opportunity. We believe that Governor Brown’s reputation for honesty and good practical governance make her the clear choice over opponent Knute Buehler.

For starters, most Oregonians are better off than when Kate Brown first took office. Oregon currently boasts a record low unemployment rate,  which conflates well with Brown’s passage of some of the best minimum wage increase legislation in the country. It’s no wonder that our economy is cooking along nicely, and that the state’s finances have stabilized under Brown’s leadership.

Environmentalists laud Brown for passing  the nation’s first coal-to-clean energy law, hot on the trail of also having passed a clean fuels law aimed specifically at oil companies. Opponent Buehler supported the coal-to-clean energy law, but not the clean fuels law. Buehler also opposes the carbon cap-and-trade law, which is anticipated for the next legislative session. Brown enthusiastically supports it.

Among Brown’s other accomplishments: Oregon’s largest transportation package in history, which among other goodies, features increased public transportation funding and incentives for consumers to purchase electric vehicles.

Governor Brown has passed over a dozen bills aimed at affordable housing, and has a firm grasp of what needs to be done next in this area of legislation. Also, Brown’s actions have added over 300,000 voters to Oregon’s rolls.

Brown has demonstrated bold and practical leadership as Governor, and while she’s not big on razzle dazzle showmanship, we respect her record.

On the other hand, there is Brown’s chief opponent. Knute Buehler postures to stay cozy with his Republican base, while also mouthing what he hopes will gain him progressive votes, and the resulting doubletalk is worrying.

For instance, Buehler argues against carbon cap-and-trade plans, characterizing them as a $1.4 billion tax on energy, and then turns around and says he’d like to see a “broad based” tax on emissions, which he would offset with income tax reductions. Huh?

Buehler has also made the outlandish claim that he’ll end homelessness.  He told The Oregonian he would spend $10 million for 4,000 shelter beds, and 4,000 supportive beds. In other words, $1,250 a bed, which is ridiculous on its face. He also told them that he would end the state pre-emption on local sit-and-lie laws, which would essentially allow municipalities to make being homeless illegal in their communities. Buehler has been touting “tough love” concerning homelessness, but his plans are a recipe for increased homelessness, and could well cost lives.

Buehler becomes more vague after that. Something about $10 million a year for rental assistance, without any sense of how to pay for it. The Oregonian says Buehler would ‘coax’ municipalities to build 20,000 new housing units, and by coax he means hand them state land without funds.

Brown targets a more realistic $370 million figure to be paid with bonds, and appropriately prioritizes families with children. Her proposals are nuanced, and pragmatic – and they account for the need to make some one-time capital outlays, while having the flexibility to pay for them over time.

Somehow worse than Knute Buehler’s doubletalk is when he manages clarity. He supports Measure 105, which would end Oregon’s status as a sanctuary state for immigrants. He was against Measure 101 earlier this year, the passage of which is credited for keeping over 350,000 Oregonian Medicare recipients insured, and reducing anticipated rate increases for the privately insured.

Unlike Buehler, Brown was for 101, and is against 105.

In Brown’s next term, we’d like to see a start on school reform. We suspect current graduation rates issue from longstanding problems, and that further bandaging will not be effective. We recognize it will be some future governor that gets credit for whatever education reform is started now, but we think Brown is uniquely capable, given her previous work as a juvenile rights attorney. We would also like to see nation-leading work on our mental health system, given the rest of the country isn’t doing so great with this either.

Much has also been said about the Public Employees Retirement System’s $22 billion of unfunded liability, and we anticipate that whoever wins this year’s gubernatorial contest is going to have a tough go getting any real fix  through Oregon’s legislature.  Given both Oregon’s House and Senate likely remaining under Democratic leadership, we believe Brown has a better chance of negotiating a solution to the liability than Buehler.

Brown is one of six governors nationally that are women, and out of those, there is only one other that is a Democrat. She was this country’s first openly bisexual governor. We are endorsing Kate Brown because she has consistently stood up to Washington, DC when she should, and is quite a bit of what we would hope for in any state leader.

EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS: Editor-in-Chief Stevie Beisswanger, Associate Editor Johnny Beaver, Publisher Steven Schultz, and Interim Member for Governmental Affairs Jay Sharpe