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Oregon’s Only ‘Children’s Champion’ in Congress

February 27, 2008

Washington, DC – Just one member of the Oregon Congressional delegation made it onto the new Children’s Defense Fund Action Council's list of the "best lawmakers" on children's issues - but Representative David Wu nailed a perfect score on the Council scorecard. The non-partisan list charts the votes of each Senator and Representative voted on each of ten bills, from balancing the budget, to increasing toy safety, to reducing college costs.

Wu, a Democrat who represents Oregon's First Congressional District, says the job can be frustrating - but he’s glad someone thinks he's making a difference.

"I have two young kids myself; these are my values, giving kids a bright start for the future and every opportunity in life. But I get a lot of reinforcement at home! My wife Michelle is a former Head Start teacher, so these votes do reflect my own values."

Together, the Oregon delegation’s average grade is 83 percent, or twelfth in the nation.

Overall, the scorecard shows that more than half of the members of congress got grades of 80 percent or higher - but 231 of them scored 60 percent or lower.

The top priority for CDF is health care coverage for all children, and Wu is a backer of an idea similar to the Medicare program for the elderly, called "Medi-Kids." He says that's a long shot at the moment, but he believes smaller steps are possible.

"First, you cover poor children. Then, we can cover up to several times poverty level, as was proposed in legislation that we passed two times last year, but which was vetoed by this president. That was extremely unfortunate, because it would have covered more low-income children, on the way toward covering all children."

This year's scorecard was based, not just on kids' health, but the financial health of the country. Wu says it's a topic that should concern every Oregonian.

"The children of today are going to inherit this set of tax cuts and the cost of the war, that hasn't been funded out of current taxes; it's been borrowed against these children's future. So it's very legitimate to have that in this list of bills."

The full CDF Action Council’s "Nonpartisan Congressional Scorecard" is online at
www.cdfactioncouncil.org.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OR