First Day of Session Notes

I’m bringing my camera to the Capitol today. Not because it’s the first day of session, but because it’s Governor Kulongoski’s second inauguration. That means he’s actually going to be in the Capitol.

Don’t take me wrong I have nothing against the man personally. His story is one that is both compelling and inspiring””a boy raised by Nuns in an orphanage in Missouri who later becomes Governor of the 33rd state. It’s part of the American dream. Despite that his star hasn’t risen to be noticed nationally because he hasn’t been effective. I wonder if that’s because he has gone through so many staff members (the Governor recently announced a new chief of staff and deputy chief of staff both of who are former union officials. But that’s a discussion for another time).

Last session, the only time I saw the Governor at the Capital was at the Walk of the Flags dedication. Granted he is a busy man but one would think with his offices in the building he would be seen around more or perhaps make an effort to be seen.

Early Politics

Speaker-Elect Merkley has started playing politics and he hasn’t even been sworn in yet. Take for example the recent committee assignments of newly elected Ron Maurer of Grants Pass. He is a 20 year military veteran and holds a doctorate in education. One would think Veterans Affairs or even an Education related committee would be appropriate. Unfortunately, that was not the case. He has been assigned to Agriculture and Natural Resources (Southern Oregon does have trees) and Human Services and Women’s Issues. Another example is former Majority Leader Wayne Scott. A former head of the Ways and Means Committee now only sits on Veterans Affairs. He did serve in the U. S. Marines though his skills would have been better utilized if he had been involved in the budgeting process.

There was a political cartoon soon after the election that showed the Governor in front of a large podium (the Capital) projecting, “IS THIS THING ON?” and staff behind him saying “He’s not used to having a house Speaker that works for him.” Maybe with a Speaker that works for him the Governor might actually be seen in the Capital every so often.