Representative Sal Esquivel says it’s tough to get anything done in Salem when the leadership can’t make up their mind on their positions.
By Rebecca Tweed
Taxpayer Association of Oregon
Lawmaker profile Series
Representative Sal Esquivel (R””Medford) has introduced over 40 bills this cycle, all dealing with important legislation for the people of Oregon. Yet, he’s got his fingers crossed on which ones will go through and which ones won’t. “It’s an interesting cycle, to say the least. You never know what is going to come out of committees. We say we want one thing, but then we do the exact opposite. When are the Oregon Democrats going to figure out that you can’t you’re your cake and eat it too?” says Representative Sal Esquivel.
Perhaps the most important bill he has sponsored has to do with affordable healthcare costs for Oregonians. Currently, about 50% of an insurance policy that we pay is additional to the actual cost of healthcare due to the state mandates. For example, if you a $1,000 policy in Oregon, that same coverage plan would be $500 in most other states. So why the difference?
“We mandate everything from Viagra to maternity benefits. It doesn’t make any sense that I’m paying for that portion of people’s health insurance,” says Representative Sal Esquivel. “Oregon wants affordable healthcare, yet we’re standing in our own way. We defeat our own purposes.” Representative Esquivel’s legislation would allow for Oregonians to purchase their coverage plans from out of state.
Representative Sal Esquivel worked on a bill with Representative Peter Buckley (D””Ashland) that would allow land owners with claims under Measure 37 to switch their claim under the new measure 49 laws. This legislation got blocked even though it had bi-partisan support. The House Democrats then wrote up their own version, but according to Representative Sal Esquivel, it left out half the constituents they were trying to help with the original bill in the first place.
“They say with one breath that they want to help land owners and then in the next, it’s a bill that does nothing of the sort,” says Representative Sal Esquivel. “I can’t say I’m surprised, but I’m definitely not pleased.”
Representative Esquivel also signed onto a bill that would have frozen minimum wage until Oregon employers can get back on their feet with the downturn in the economy. “We’re being counterproductive. Unemployment goes up because minimum wage keeps going up and employers can’t afford to pay so much. They say they want to create jobs, but they make it impossible. It’s intentional”¦make everyone get government jobs, make government bigger,” says Representative Sal Esquivel. “The problem is that doesn’t do anything for industry or small businesses. We need to be working with people to create jobs”¦they’re spending way too much time worry about 16 oz in a beer.”
Does Representative Sal Esquivel think there’s any legislation that will get passed without a knife in the back? Yes and it was actually brought to him by a constituent. The bill would allow for the non-military spouse in a military family to take advantage of the Family Leave Act, giving them two weeks paid leave from work at the front or back end of their spouse’s deployment, encouraging them to spend more time together without it being a detriment to their financial situation.