Can Chris Dudley Be A New Beginning For Oregon?

It is pretty much a given that Chris Dudley will win the gubernatorial election. Most of the polls show Dudley with an increasing lead amongst likely voters. More importantly momentum appears to be with Dudley – more yard signs, more money, more donors, and more volunteers (I mean the real volunteers, not the ones who are obligated by membership in the public employee unions to “volunteer”).

It’s not so much that Dudley has energized the center-right coalition of voters that define Oregon (that is Oregon outside of Multnomah County); but rather that Oregon’s large independent base simply cannot stomach the prospect of another dose of Dr. No – John Kitzhaber. Years of spending like drunken sailors, years of ignoring the growing fiscal problems of Oregon, and years of rewarding the public employee unions while hundreds of thousand of Oregonians have lost their jobs have let to disenchantment with Oregon’s Democrat ruling class.

Given the likelihood of Dudley’s election there are several things he should be thinking and talking about in the final days of his campaign. Because there have been twenty-four years of one-party (Democrat) rule in Oregon, it is incumbent upon Dudley, as an agent of change, to set expectations. Changing twenty-four years of fiscal irresponsibility and warped policy priorities will not occur without a struggle – and at times a significant struggle.

So here are four important things for Dudley to consider as he prepares to serve as Oregon’s next governor:

1. Dudley should assume that he will be dealing with a Democrat majority in one or both houses of the legislature. Republicans will make sufficient gains to deny Democrats their super-majority for passing tax increases and, more importantly, limiting their ability to override gubernatorial vetoes. Just as John Kitzhaber used his veto to force increased spending through an impatient Republican dominated legislature; Dudley can use the veto to force fiscal reform on a Democrat legislature.

To do so requires patience. The legislature’s primary constitutional responsibility is to adopt a balanced budget. Dudley can, and should, reject successive budgets proposed by the Democrats until he is satisfied that it represents fiscal prudence.

2. Dudley should adopt a proposal from Sen. Jason Aktinson’s campaign during the 2006 gubernatorial campaign. Atkinson declared that, as governor, he would give the legislature until the 80th legislative day to adopt a comprehensive K-12 education budget and that if the legislature failed to do so, he would veto every bill – not just budget bills – until they did so. What Sen. Atkinson realized is that the legislature – Democrat and Republican alike – used school funding to balance the budget at the end of the session. The Republicans did it because it was a huge sum of money they could tweak at the end to balance the budget; and the Democrats did it because they could spend like fools on every other proposal and then cry crocodile tears about how the Republicans were unwilling to raise taxes to adequately fund the schools. (It also has the ancillary advantage of setting the budget before local school districts are required by law to fix their annual budget.)

Forcing the legislature to deal with school funding first eliminates the ability of either party to manipulate the budget on the backs of Oregon’s school children.

3. Dudley should understand that while his opposition is nominally the Democrat Party, in actuality, the opposition is Oregon’s public employees unions. The Democrat Party has become so reliant on the $80 Million biennial war chest of the public employees unions to finance their campaigns that it has, quite simply, become a subset of the public employees unions.

In Tuesday’s Oregonian, columnist Steve Duin, writing about the paradox of the Kitzhaber campaign, inadvertently, summarized the reality of continued Democrat domination:

“One final thought. Kitzhaber would have a far easier time dealing with a Legislature that is controlled by D’s, beholden to public employees and disinclined to allow Dudley to accomplish anything.”

And that is correct because the public employee unions are in full control of Oregon state government and continued Democrat dominance will ensure that Oregon state government serves their interest before the interests of Oregonians.

4. After the election and before actually taking office, Dudley should a) hire a damn good labor lawyer – not the ones who have represented public entities like the cities and towns, but rather one experienced in dealing with the harshness of labor disputes in the private sector; and b) hold a meeting with the state’s major employment agencies to develop a plan for hiring replacement workers.

Most of the fiscal reforms proposed by Dudley (and absolutely necessary if Oregon is going to have any chance of stopping the slide into the fiscal abyss) will require changes to the collective bargaining agreements. Requiring public employees to pay their own six percent contribution to PERS, absorb some portion of their healthcare insurance, and adjusting salaries to reflect private sector equivalencies must be dealt with during collective bargaining.

The public employees unions will not accept any one of these let alone all three. They will strike – not because the public employees want to strike, but rather because the union leaders, who are immune from the effects of a strike, will demand it to demonstrate “who has the power.” It is at this point that the Democrats, beholden to the unions as their financial source, generally fold.

It is at this point, that a governor with courage must remain steadfast. There are 160,000 Oregonians who have lost their jobs under the Kulongoski administration. There are at least another 40,000 Oregonians who have entered the workforce during that same period with no prospects for finding a job. Add to that Oregon’s chronically high level of unemployed (5-6%) and you have an available labor pool far in excess of any targeted union strike. These employment agencies can, with sufficient advanced notice and preparation, readily supply a sufficient number of qualified workers to maintain the essential elements of service for any agency of state government.

Over the long run, these same employment agencies can supply permanent replacement of union workers if required – remember the air traffic controllers. And finally, a strike would give a governor the opportunity to determine whether some of the functions should be outsourced to domestic private industry. (It also has the added benefit of limiting increased future liability for PERS because new hires come under the least abusive classification of the PERS system.)

In short, future-governor Chris Dudley, governing Oregon after twenty-four years of entrenched Democrat rule will be a serious challenge. A timid response will ensure failure and a single term, while boldness and tenacity will be rewarded by progress and the opportunity for a second term. You can be like Gov. Chris Christy (NJ), or Gov. Charlie Crist (FL) – your choice. Oregon will be waiting.

  • Bob Clark

    I live in Multnomah county and all I am seeing is Kitzhaber yard signs although not as many as would be typical of this county in a general election, supporting the mainstream liberal democrat (an oxymoron). So, I hope your right about Chris Dudley winning, and the debate is yet to happen. Chris needs to perform better in this debate than he did in the Republican primary debate. But I tell you Chris has a very good demeanor, and I think he would really promote Oregon like Victor Atiyeh did. Also, Chris has a certain stuborness to him as conservatives have tried very hard to push him to the right of center.

    I liked Chris’ training wage idea this week in response to the increase in the minimum wage. I remember being a young adult trying to land a job, and the biggest bugaboo for me and other young adults is the lack of experience. A training wage, lower than the minimum wage, would serve to entice businesses to help hire young workers whose unemployment rate is something like 20% or higher. I know a lot of people swear by the minimum wage, but I believe the minimum wage rigidity should be softened. I think of the public’s high regard for the minimum wage as something akin to the social more for tipping (15% typically). But I hope Chris can maybe soften the public regard for the minimum wage to allow it more flexibility to take account of special circumstances, like experience for those just coming into the labor force.

    I think of Chris as slowing, if not stopping, the trend of Oregon sagging into an ever weaker welfare state.

    So, hope Chris holds his own in the debate and is able to win in November.

    • Scatcatpdx

      Yes there is a lot of Kitzhaber yard signs in Red Square hippie dippy areas of Portland (Belmont and Hawthorne) it outside Portland’s Red Square is a different matter

    • telefriend

      Somebody’s paying big money to get Kitzhaber and Dudley elected…but why, what’s in it for them?

      Greg Kord is the best Tea Party vote for Oregon’s next governor, if enough of us encourage others to tell their networks. (

      Without sovereignty, Oregon will never be permitted to fly with her own wings, and it’s our perfect time to vote for pure Liberty. Neither Socialism nor Socialism-lite will rescue the state from the myriad of quagmire it’s currently under. Getting back to basics using common sense will break Oregon free.

  • a retired professor

    A given that Dudley will win? The polls I have seen show a statistical dead heat, with no clear trend. The “voters that define Oregon” excludes Multnomah County? An odd statement, to say the least — excluding Portland and its surrounding county to in defining Oregon! And what about the rest of the Willamette Valley including Salem, Corvallis, Eugene-Springfield? Heavy Kitzhaber country.

    And then there’s Larry’s call for Dudley to begin planning to smash the unions by replacing the union workers with strikebreakers. Sounds a lot like Saxton’s great strategy four years ago, the one that got him beat by about 5% more than Keven Mannix got beat the time before. “Fire the public workers, then hire them back the next day with lower benefits.” Except without Saxton’s moderation. A great way to rev up the enthusiasm of the Democrats, of the unions. To lose the public worker votes Dudley will need to eke out a victory.

    One more thing: Larry mentions the air traffic controllers’ strike and their replacement by Reagan. But there is a big difference: that strike was illegal. Public worker strikes are not illegal in Oregon.

    Sounds like Larry is lusting for a fight to the death with the public unions. It may play well with a crowd of far-right malcontents, but it won’t play well with Oregon, not even the make believe “center-right” Oregon of Larry’s fantasy.

    • Anonymous

      Would it even be legal to replace striking Oregon state workers? Has Larry even done his homework on this?

    • eagle eye

      Dudley’s tone and attitude are worlds apart from Larry Huss. That is why he has a decent chance of winning. Here is what he has said:

      “I will not make individual state employees and teachers scapegoats for the failure of past policy-makers to fix a broken system – a public employee compensation system that is fiscally unsustainable.”

  • valley p

    “It is pretty much a given that Chris Dudley will win the gubernatorial election.”

    Wow. Why hold the election?

  • Rupert in Springfield

    >It is pretty much a given that Chris Dudley will win the gubernatorial election.

    You have to be kidding me right?

    I take it as a given that Kitzhaber (or whoever the Democrat nominee would have been had it not been him) would win because of the huge Democrat advantage in this state both in terms of population and union money influence.

    That Kitzhaber, who even by his own words could hardly be considered a successful governor, is showing so strongly against Dudley points to the enormous strength of the Democratic party in Oregon.

    Dudley may well win, but the idea that he is a shoe in is absurd. I frankly would be stunned if he won by more than 5%. That’s not because Dudley is a bad candidate or is running a bad campaign, he isn’t. Its because Oregon is so strongly Democrat in terms of elections. That someone like Kitzhaber, in this election climate, is at all close to winning the governorship points to that.

    • Anonymous

      >It is pretty much a given that Chris Dudley will win the gubernatorial election.

      With sound judgment like that, you can get to be a high executive for a major corporation!

      • Rupert in Springfield

        And thus we see the expression of the blind liberal hatred. So much so that this anonymous dullard can’t even read the first sentence of an article before his exhibition of idiocy.

        Did you even read my post or are you simply so stupid you can’t read?

        Do you even know what the quote is from?

        No, you don’t. You are simply too dim witted and slow to read the article and read the reply you are answering.

        I think you win the prize for the most idiotic post of the day. I would expect nothing less of you, but this one serves as a iridescent beacon of your utter vacuity.

        • valley p

          Wait just a cotton picken minute Rupert! Elsewhere you called me all 3 dumb names in your small and not very potent insult repertoire. I therefore claim the most idiotic post title! Its mine!

          • Rupert in Springfield

            You know, I have some sympathy for you here. Your inability to write a sentence as a question rather than a statement was astonishingly incompetent and I would think hard to surpass in its idiocy.

            You inability to admit that you are ever wrong also shown forth in your lack of grace in simply rephrasing and going on to assume nonsense about crime rates.

            However I think Anonymous Liberal Stalker Guy wins the booby prize with this exhibition of utter brain dead left wing hatred.

            I frankly think that occasionally you do actually make a point here and frankly I think if you gathered your thoughts more before commenting you would do better.

            I dont think the same is true of Anonymous Liberal Stalker guy as he never actually make a point on his own. All he does is lame insults with never an original contribution of his own.

            When you restrict yourself to only insults, and you make a collosal mistake even with that small task as shown here, you really have proven yourself as totally and completely brain dead.

            Thus the booby prize of the day for Anonymous Liberal Stalker Guy. He showed he didn’t even read the first sentence of the article, didn’t read my post at all, just thought he would be clever and then failed at the one task he fancys himself clever at on this blog.

          • valley p

            You whack me with your nerf bat insults and then feel sympathy? Save it. I’m not harmed enough to need it.

            Why would I want to phrase a statement as a question if it wasn’t a question? Why would I rephrase something that should have been easily understood, and was obviously understood by others? Why should I admit I was wrong when the 4 studies our anonymous friend cited showed you to be the one in error?

            Why do I bother with you at all? You lack any capacity for self reflection. And frankly I don’t blame you. If I were you I would also make sure to lack this capacity.

        • Anonymous

          Uh, Rupert, I quoted the first sentence of the article. And yes, I read it first.

          >I think you win the prize for the most idiotic post of the day. I would expect nothing less of you, but this one serves as a iridescent beacon of your utter vacuity.

          You’re really good with the purple language! But perhaps you’ve been waving the magic wand a tad too much.

          Or maybe you’re just trying to win the idiocy prize for yourself?

          Sorry, but vp has staked out his claim very well below.

          • Rupert in Springfield

            >Uh, Rupert, I quoted the first sentence of the article. And yes, I read it first.

            Then why are you writing it as a reply to my post instead of the article itself??

            Answer – you didn’t read the first sentence of the article.

            You thought I was the one who had written had “It is pretty much a given that Chris Dudley will win the gubernatorial election.” and then went on with the lame insult in a reply to me because you read neither the article nor my post, you were simply looking to issue insults.

            You jumped the gun, and that is apparent to anyone.

            Now you are coming up with some sort of lame excuse rather than simply saying “woopsie, my bad”.

            Can you see how your hatred of me has made it preferable to you to play the fool rather than admit a simple mistake?

            Can you see how I know that you would prefer such and now can make you look utterly shallow by anticipating this sort of limp response from you?

            You hate me, we all know that.

            You tried to insult me to express that hatred and that got in the way of you actually thinking before expressing yourself.

            You can stop me making a fool of you any time you wish. Simply take some time, think about what you are writing, read what you are responding to and dont make mistakes like this which are born of obvious hatred getting the better of you.

            It’s really that simple.

            But you wont do it and that is why I will be able to do this sort of thing to you endlessly should I choose.

            Your hatred has progressed to such a level where you can’t even say “woops, you are right, I was wrong, sorry, my bad”

            Ive done that with Dean on more than one occasion, he has been right and I have been wrong and I have had no problem admitting such when it was clear.

            You wont ever do that though, and thus I am afraid I will always be able to mock you with abandon from time to time Anonymous Liberal Stalker Guy.

            See how that works?

            Your hatred of me is appreciated by no one more than myself. It clouds your mind such that the foolishness your hatred causes in you becomes crystal clear as in this example.

            That’s the sort of thing I love Anonymous Liberal Stalker Guy and for that I am thankful to you.

          • Anonymous


            but the comment/quote that started this whole dispute didn’t come from me. Nonetheless, your ire is totally misdirected, Rupert. Anonymous was clearly targeting Larry Huss (i.e. not you… unless you’re Larry’s alter ego) with his witticism.

            “With sound judgment like that, you can get to be a high executive for a major corporation!”

            Are you or have you ever been “a high executive of a major corporation”? No? So put a sock in it, moron.

    • eagle eye

      A win-win-win-win situation! valley p wins the idiocy award. Rupert wins the reading comprehension, the congeniality, and the MOPE (most oppressed person on earth, a new category!) award. We have one or two new “Anonymous” guys adding to the confusion and fun. And Larry gets overdue recognition with the corporate achievement award!

      • valley p

        I’m honored. Speechless even.

        • eagle eye

          You deserve it, and you’ve made the case for yourself very well!

          Let’s hope Rupert and Larry will enjoy their fame as much as you are enjoying yours.

          Now, what about an award for Jerry? It would have to be in some kind of special, stupendous uber-category. Got any ideas?

          • valley p

            Its obvious. He gets the multiple personality disorder award for inventing new people to argue with himself.

  • Anonymous
    I think you win the prize for the most idiotic post of the day. I would expect nothing less of you, but this one serves as a iridescent beacon of your utter vacuity.

    You’re really good with the purple language! But perhaps you’ve been waving the magic wand a tad too much.

    Or maybe you’re just trying to win the idiocy prize for yourself?

    Sorry, but vp has staked out his claim very well below.