Civility and Leadership

Civility Lacking in Short Annual Sessions

Currently we are reading headlines about the Oregon Legislature and the large number of important issues they are taking on during the annual 35-day short session. Many of my former colleagues in the building, on both sides of the aisle, and I stay in touch. They comment on how partisan the session has become.

The proponents of the annual short sessions said we needed to be more flexible in today’s economy. The short session would be used for adjusting budgets and minor fixes to laws that needed fine tuning.

I didn’t agree that the legislature needed to meet more often. After all the body has the ability to call “special” sessions in the event of emergencies that couldn’t wait until the normal bi-annual session. I offered up amendments and submitted a minority report that would have limited the items to be addressed in the short session. The requirement of 2/3 majority vote on policy would have ensured that only bi-partisan fixes would be addressed. Here is a link to the staff measure summary of that Minority Report:

It was voted down on party lines during the 2010 “special” session.

Looking back, we never had the chance to see if this would have been a better, more civil approach to the short sessions. My common sense discernment tells me Oregon would be better off with stronger bi-partisan leadership.

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Today’s Students – Our Future Leaders

This year I continue to be inspired by our youth. They are the future of our community and state. Last fall I accepted a board position on the United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley and I am serving alongside Adam Garman, who is a freshman enrolled at Corban University. He is part of the Leadership and Political Engagement Program and a McLaran Scholarship recipient. Adam is a fine example of a young person broadening his understanding of the community while engaged in curriculum designed to help groom our future leaders.

Late last fall I toured the new Salem-Keizer School CTEC (Career Technical Education Center) and as I met students, it was obvious these high school students were receiving training / mentoring on “professional skills.” Strong hand shakes, eye contact and pride in showing their work. This program is an example of a private investment and public program that works to fill the needs of education and the potential workforce demands of our community. To learn more visit their web site at:

Just last week I received a video produced by some creative students, aka future leaders, from McNary High School. It’s entitled “Who is Salem?” Here is the link to it:

I hope you enjoy watching the video as much as I did. Please give us your feedback on what you are observing in “our future leaders.” And please remember my door is always open and I welcome your thoughts, comments and concerns.