by Sen. Doug Whitsett
The Oregon Republican Party (ORP) Platform Caucus convened in Bend last week. Its adopted Platform encompasses nearly ten pages of thoroughly deliberated and well-stated Republican principles. The adherence of the nearly 200 delegates’ to strong Republican values is inspiring, reassuring and comforting.
The Natural Resources and Environmental Stewardship plank unambiguously supports a number of values that I strongly endorse.
Delegates voted unanimously to oppose the breaching of dams. They support including all current and future hydropower generation in Oregon’s Renewable Portfolio Standard and strongly encourage expanded water storage through construction of new or enhanced reservoirs. The delegates recognize that storage must be sufficient to provide sound water management and hydroelectric power generation while maintaining appropriate environmental policy based on reproducible, verifiable science.
Also supported and encouraged by the ORP and its delegates is the transfer of federal public lands to local control, excluding sovereign nations, as provided for in the Constitution of the United States Article 1 section 8 and the 1859 Oregon Act of Admission. They strongly advocate for the multiple use of our public lands to help sustain and grow Oregon forest, livestock, agriculture and tourism industries.
The ORP believes that the ownership of private property is the cornerstone of personal freedom, including the rights of prospectors and miners. It recognizes the critical importance of water for agriculture and industry by supporting the Constitutional protection of established surface and groundwater rights as real property.
Delegates voted to oppose the withdrawal, use, or taking of private lands to create wilderness, national monuments or any other restrictive categories without approval by the people of Oregon and of Congress. They likewise voted to oppose any taking of private property, through the establishment of unreasonable setbacks for any reason, without fair compensation established by due process in a court of law.
The Law and Criminal Justice plank explicitly states many principles that I strongly support.
The ORP unequivocally advocates our Second Amendment rights for all law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms in a manner of their choosing without government interference. It further advocates the unalienable right of all people to use any reasonable and necessary force to defend their homes, themselves and others, as well as their property and livestock, against human or animal threat without fear of criminal or civil reprisal.
Delegates voted to support the funding of public safety as the ORP’ highest priority. They advocate for equal enforcement of the law, truth in sentencing and the exercise of judicial restraint with strict adherence to the Constitution.
Further, they believe laws for the punishment of crime must be founded on the principles of protection of society, the preservation and protection of the rights of crime victims, personal responsibility and accountability for one’s actions. Primary objectives are the reformation of offenders and restitution for crime victims.
The delegates support strengthening of both legislative and public oversight of administrative rules and the rulemaking processes in order to ensure conformity with legislative intent, Oregon statutes and the Oregon Constitution. In addition, they believe all Oregon residents must receive full justice in the civil court system, including equal discovery rights and the completion of a fair and impartial hearing before an administrative agency may institute fines, invoke penalties or revoke rights.
A new Government Transparency, Accountability and Honesty plank includes several issues that I have introduced or supported in the Oregon Legislature.
The ORP believes in limited, accountable, efficient and transparent government, at all levels, that operates within a balanced budget and which performs its core constitutional functions with the highest ethical standard.
Delegates supported ending the abuse of the Emergency Clause, advocated for the guaranteed protection of whistleblowers and supported empowering elected legislators and public officials to compel sworn testimony by all Oregon government officials, on the public record under penalty of perjury.
The ORP advocates for the legislative power to impeach statewide elected officials as well as any political appointee to state agencies requiring Senate confirmation, and to remove them from office by a supermajority vote of the Senate. It believes that government accountability must include independent audits and more complete, timely and affordable compliance with public records requests. The ORP wants state and local taxing authorities to be required by statute to regularly post on their official websites and the state transparency website all of their most critical financial details, including ending balances, current debt, current revenue and assets and future obligations.
Delegates want every bill introduced in the Legislative Assembly, as well as all proposed amendments, to be sponsored by a clearly identified legislator. They also request that each legislative bill be prefaced with a “because clause” clearly identifying the problem the bill is meant to address.
The Health Care plank is well-summarized in its preamble. Families and individuals have the sole responsibility and right to make their own health care decisions. A free market system of health insurance and health care delivery is the surest way to provide high quality affordable health care that preserves individual freedom and privacy. We advocate the protection of the physician-patient relationship, the promotion of competition and the provision of individual choices.
Delegates reaffirmed their commitment to the repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as “Obamacare.” They oppose any state effort to impose the provisions of the Act in Oregon, or any other state act with similar provisions.
Further, the delegates are committed to the aggressive pursuit of tort reform legislation to help reduce the costs of health care, avoid the practice of defensive medicine and improve health care quality.
Finally, the ORP delegates confirm their belief that our unalienable rights are endowed by our creator and that government without the consent of the governed is tyranny. They expect local, state and federal governments to protect our individual rights, freedoms and private property. They affirm that the powers of the federal government are limited to those enumerated in the U.S. Constitution and restricted by the 9th and 10th Amendments.
The ORP Platform document is meant to represent a compilation of the political and moral beliefs of many Republicans. It is not expected that every Party member will unequivocally endorse every component of the Platform. Nor should every provision be used as a “litmus test” for potential Republican candidates. However, taken as a whole, I believe if fairly represents mainstream Republican political philosophy.
The entire ORP 2015 Platform can be found online here.
Senator Doug Whitsett is the Republican state senator representing Senate District 28 – Klamath Falls