I have been visiting our state Capitol to testify and meet with our state legislators as Happy Valley mayor, as a member of the Metropolitan Mayors Consortium, as a board member for the League of Oregon Cities and as business owner of Anesthesia Associates Northwest, LLC.
There have been many issues this session, but one that spans across the four hats I've worn is urging our legislators to pass a comprehensive transportation package. Throughout the halls of our Capitol, I have seen countless legislators meeting with different groups, but one person that I haven't seen during this session is Kate Brown. Where has our governor been?
Oregon public records show Gov. Brown spent much of the first week of May campaigning. In the midst of a budget crisis and Salem Democrats calling for cuts, Kate Brown was in Washington D.C. from May 2-4 campaigning. Immediately after her D.C. trip, the governor took a flight to New York City on another undisclosed campaign-related event.
Even in April, the governor put her campaign ahead of our state. She was gone April 10-20 in other undisclosed campaign events. With both parties working to balance our budget, the governor has been absent to act as a facilitator in these important discussions. The lack of leadership shown by Gov. Brown is evident by her calendar.
I've seen numerous articles questioning Kate Brown's leadership this session and the way she has governed our state. Now, the real issue seems to be that she is too focused on her 2018 re-election efforts and does not see the issues in our state as her first priority.
A strong governor should be someone that is available to meet with all legislators, regardless of party. Kate Brown should be seen at the state Capitol. It's essential that our governor is available for the public during the session. Campaigning can begin after "sine die," the last day of session. Whoever is the next governor should have a reputation of building coalitions from both sides discussing feasible legislation that will help move Oregon forward.
On previous occasions, I have mentioned that there is a lack of leadership for our current and future legislators who need to remain focused on their constituents back in their hometowns. It's not just a lack in leadership we're facing; it's a crisis in leadership. Here's the question I put forth: Aren't we all tired of the same old status quo? Let's get a governor in there to bring back the roundtable.
The issues are numerous. We need leaders that have the tools to solve the education funding gap, so all our Oregon children are elevated. We need to cultivate a safe space by partnering with current small business owners and help them by either lowering costs or reducing regulation to inspire more jobs. Lastly, I will continue to call out this current leadership because we must address the congestion on our roads that's now affecting all of our daily lives.
Lori Chavez-DeRemer is the mayor of Happy Valley.