House Democrats have a chance to demonstrate independence and backbone

by Dan Lucas

Today is the start of the 76th Regular Session of the Oregon State Legislature. The House has a historic 30-30 split, and Oregon is facing a myriad of serious problems, ranging from continuing high unemployment to insufficient revenues to pay for the projected spending growth.

This session will call for legislators willing to do the right thing for Oregon, regardless of pressures that special interests are bringing to bear on their party caucus. Last session, Republicans were the only party who demonstrated an ability to do that.

Data collected by the Oregonian reveals that in the 1,230 votes of the 2009 Regular Session, Democrats voted along party lines 98% of the time.  Republicans only voted along party lines 85% of the time.  In the 152 votes of the 2010 Special Session, Democrats again voted along party lines 98% of the time. Republicans only voted along party lines 83% of the time.

This session provides Democrats an opportunity to demonstrate that they too can put aside party politics and tackle Oregon’s difficult challenges.