Jeff Merkley’s Progressive Session Closes Rural Office

Press Release from State GOP Office 4/3/08:

Jeff Merkley’s Progressive Session Closes Rural Office

SALEM, Ore. — Senate Candidate Jeff Merkley gave another sneak peek this week into his views of rural Oregon. The Office of Rural Policy closed its doors despite the window dressing efforts of Jeff Merkley’s “most progressive and productive Oregon legislative session in the last 30 years” which gutted the office’s funding — enough for just nine months of service.

The Portland Liberal did little to keep the office afloat. Even worse, Merkley pretended to understand rural Oregon by pledging partnership and embarking on a tour of places far, far from Portland:

“It is critical that legislators in Salem understand the challenges facing Oregon’s rural counties so we can be better partners…” (Source: Speaker’s Press Release, Legislative Leaders To Tour Rural Oregon Counties, March 27, 2007.)

“We need a firm grasp on the problems these counties are facing before we can help them come up with a long-term solution.” (Source: Speaker’s Press Release, Legislators Announce Schedule for Timber Counties Tour, April 16, 2007.)

Merkley Took Action — He Cut Funding

Speaker Merkley showed rural Oregon exactly what he learned. He came back to Salem and supported a budget that doomed the Office of Rural Policy — the only liaison to the Governor for rural counties.

The budget which Merkley supported clearly states: “It funds the Office of Rural Policy with General Fund for a period of nine months.” (Source: Budget Report and Measure Summary for HB 5026-A, Approved on June 20, 2007)

But, Merkley wasn’t done helping

Portland’s House Speaker closed the “most progressive and productive Oregon legislative session in the last 30 years” by creating a new Rural Policy committee. The new committee was clearly a better option for rural Oregon; its purpose is “to further study the issue.” (Source: Jeff Merkley Press Release: Merkley: Oregon’s Rural Counties Deserve a Long-Term Contract with the Federal Government, February 7, 2008.)

We agree; there should be further study of Merkley’s rural record.