Rob Cornilles campaign kickoff speech

Cornilles for Congress

BEAVERTON, OR – Rob Cornilles, candidate for U.S. Congress, yesterday delivered a speech kicking off his general election campaign.

Those joining Rob Cornilles on stage at Portland’s World Forestry Center included Tualatin/West Linn Representative Julie Parrish, Cheryl Young, Mayor of Columbia City and a Democrat, and Promise King, the Executive Director of the Oregon League of Minority Voters.

Rob’s Campaign Kickoff Speech

For far too long Oregon’s First District has been “The Forgotten District.” But starting today – as the eyes of the country turn to this Special Election – you’re going to help them discover that Northwest Oregon is home to:

Great communities with strong, civic-minded families…

Schools and universities with committed teachers…

Innovative companies that drive this state’s economy…

Fisheries, forests, and farmland that provide sustainable jobs…

And ports that help us share our goods with the rest of the world…

This beautiful part of Oregon – from Astoria to Sherwood, St. Helens to Hillsboro, and Portland to McMinnville – and the great people that live here, have much to be proud of.

But there is one thing that does not instill confidence in our people right now: our federal government.

Once a source of great pride, Washington, DC seems more and more distant to those of us – like me — who grew up here, maybe raised a family here, or built a business and created jobs here.

It’s become a place where the well-connected spend money on lobbyists to rig the system against the middle-class.

It’s a place that racks up a mountain of debt for our children while seeking to micro-manage our entrepreneurs and schools.

A great people are being held back by a broken and out-of-touch government 3,000 miles away.

In this dynamic place we call home, too many moms and dads are out of work. Young people struggle to start careers.

Business owners face the prospects of higher taxes and mounds of paperwork.

And today’s class of lawyers-turned-career politicians are unwilling and ill-equipped to solve problems.

This election – as we look ahead to the next 84 days – comes down to one question: Do we want to change course and make things better, or do we want more of the same?

“More of the same” is having another Representative for the First District beholden to those who’ve boosted her to the next rung on the political career ladder.

During the primary, you may have heard I took a lot of heat for refusing to sign pledges written by DC insiders. I’m an independent thinker.

In case you’re wondering, I’m not running for John Boehner. I’m not even running for a party; I’m running for a people.

I’m running for:

Connie, a café owner in Forest Grove, who says she needs relief from high taxes so she can hire more people.

I’m running for Darlene, a hair stylist in King City, who tells me she wants a Representative who knows what it’s like to start a small business.

I’m running for Joan and Wayne of Tigard, who want to be sure Social Security and Medicare will continue to be there for them in their golden years.

Rather than going with the flow, I prefer taking a different course for the people of the First District. And today I make a commitment to Connie and Darlene and Joan and Wayne – and you. It’s called The Cornilles Commitment:

First, I will be loyal to the people of Oregon, not Washington, DC.

Second, I will honor the promises made to seniors through the benefits they’ve earned over a lifetime of work.

Third, I will put the interests of Oregon above the interests of any political party.

And fourth, I will raise your expectations of what a Member of the United States Congress should be.

Some will cynically ask, “Don’t all politicians say that?” You bet they do! That’s why we don’t need more “politicians.”

I stand before you as a 47-year-old business owner and father of three who, until recently, had no aspirations for public office.

But over the years, I’ve been inspired by watching Oregon public servants like Mark Hatfield, Tom McCall, and Vic Atiyeh, known for their independence and effectiveness. Now, I’m motivated to follow their lead in showing this country what Oregon can do.

The first Cornilles Commitment is to be loyal to Oregonians.

It’s time we have a representative that trusts Oregonians to create jobs, not the politicians in Washington, D.C.

How do we do that? By giving Oregonians more freedom and opportunity to create, invent, and prosper for themselves, their families, and their communities.

We can unshackle Oregonians by overhauling and simplifying our tax code. It’s 10,000 pages of special perks that allows the powerful and well-heeled to avoid taxes, while sticking Oregon’s small businesses and their workers with the bill.

My opponent, Senator Bonamici, raised taxes and fees on Oregonians more than 50 times in just five years while a member of the Oregon Legislature.

And she’s not done. Now, when Oregonians are struggling to create or find jobs, she wants to raise taxes in a broken system — without reforming it.

Does she think it’s right that last year General Electric made $14 billion and paid zero federal income tax?

Does anybody think those with friends in high places will pay taxes as long as there are loopholes to help avoid it? Not a chance!

Lawyer-turned-Senator Bonamici may defend a broken system that concentrates power in Washington, DC, but I want to fix it!

I will work to eliminate tax breaks for the well-connected…lower rates across the board…and trust Oregonians to make investment decisions based on what’s best for job creation and our economy.

I ask you: Are you ready to change our tax system so Oregonians can create jobs here at home?

Next, I will honor the commitments we’ve made to Oregon seniors.

I’ve said it many times before, and I’m happy to say it again: I oppose the privatization of Social Security. Period.

People have paid into this retirement program throughout their working life and should receive their promised retirement income.

I’m equally committed to protect the Medicare program, and make sure we have a strong system of health care for seniors.

Senator Bonamici says she supports the $500 billion cut to Medicare passed last year, which will come largely out of a program called Medicare Advantage.

Yet, this year, 254,000 Oregon seniors have chosen Medicare Advantage because they felt it was a better plan for them.

Believe it or not, Senator Bonamici, who doesn’t support Medicare choice, wants to put everybody in a public-only plan.

According to Medicare’s own Chief Actuary, Senator Bonamici’s Medicare cut will force half of the Oregon seniors in Medicare Advantage into the public-only plan.

As a state legislator, Senator Bonamici gets a choice in health care. Why not seniors?

I ask you: are you ready to stop this assault on seniors’ choice?

Next, I will put the interests of Oregonians ahead of any political party, even my own.

For the last 16 years, I’ve been a small business owner. Allison and I, using the spare bedroom in our home and dipping into our savings account, dreamed of building something here in our home state.

As any small business owner will tell you, every day is an exercise in working together and solving problems.

People have asked – since I’ve never held office – what prepares me for Congress?

Well, what makes anyone think another long-time politician, who’s never created a job, knows anything about growing the economy?

If all Washington, DC needed were more people who’ve held public office, we’d be riding high right now. But instead, DC is full of people who’ve held office for years. How’s that working out for us?

I am especially prepared to serve in Congress because I learned one very important lesson as a small business owner: putting your finger in the wind or avoiding tough decisions is not leadership.

Senator Bonamici claims she’s “bipartisan” because she helped redraw district boundaries for elections.

How fitting that a politician, while preparing to run for Congress herself, would think it’s an accomplishment to create safe legislative districts for her political friends.

And while in Salem, Senator Bonamici voted with the majority of her party 98 percent of the time. 98 percent!

She has a more partisan voting record than David Wu.

We don’t need more of the same. Voting 98 percent of the time with your party is not leadership; it’s button pushing.

Whether you’re Republican, Independent, or Democrat, I want you to know that I could not vote with my party 98% of the time and still consider myself a true “representative” for Oregon.

Whether you’re Republican, Independent, or Democrat, I want you to know that I can’t support a broken tax system that favors mega-corporations and well-connected insiders over our small businesses.

Whether you’re Republican, Independent, or Democrat, I want you to know that I won’t support a system that wastes your hard-earned tax dollars on fraudulent and corrupt spending while our national debt continues to multiply.

Ladies and gentlemen, Washington, DC is filled with typical politicians who moved up the career ladder to Congress.

We don’t need one more.

It’s time to think differently. It’s time to ask what is best – not for a party or a politician – but for Oregon.

Which of us, Senator Bonamici or me, do you believe will stand up and stand out in advocating for this outstanding district?

As I shared with you earlier, the Fourth Cornilles Commitment is to raise Oregonians’ expectations of what a Member of the United States Congress should be. Will you do that today, right now? Will you raise your expectations? In these next 84 days, as you look at this race, will you challenge everyone you talk to, to do the same? Raise your expectations!

The First Congressional District of Oregon is without a doubt the BEST district in the country.

Yet, David Wu and those who covered for him by putting party before the public’s interest have given us the worst possible congressional representation: none.

Senator Bonamici is part of the very political establishment that enabled David Wu and covered up his offensive behavior. Now that Establishment is doing whatever it takes to put her in Congress.

But thankfully, voters of the First District get to make that decision.

We don’t need more of the same; our children don’t deserve more of the same; and our state can’t afford more of the same.

This is our chance to move in a new direction. And it’s my commitment to you to be loyal to Oregon, to protect our seniors, to put progress above party, and to raise your expectations of what a Member of Congress should be.

Are you ready for a new direction?

Washington, DC hasn’t enacted a budget in three years. Are you ready to send a small business owner to Congress who knows how to manage a budget?

Who’s successfully met a payroll for 193 straight months?

Who will go to Washington to solve problems, not play politics?

Is Oregon ready for a new kind of Representative?

Then I ask for your support. Let’s get to work!