PNS Daily News - October 16, 2019 

Farmers in DC to discuss trade and the rural economic crisis; also Lily Bohlke reports on the Democratic debate -- from 2020 Talks.

2020Talks - October 16, 2019 

Last night in Ohio the fourth Democratic debate covered issues from health care, gun control and abortion to the Turkish invasion of Syria. What's clear: Sen. Elizabeth Warren has replaced former VP Joe Biden as the centerstage target.

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Changes, Challenges Mark OR Election Results

November 6, 2008

Salem, OR - Is there a message in Tuesday's record voter turnout, across the country and here in Oregon? Groups that rallied hard behind the many ballot measures and political candidates in Oregon say there is. Not only are they pleased with the election enthusiasm, they contend it's a hint of things to come for the Oregon Legislature.

According to Joann Bowman, executive director of Oregon Action, voters have sent state lawmakers a strong message for change, even in some of the most conservative areas of the state.

"I hope what that says to Oregon legislators is that that they should be brave -- they should use political courage to take care of some of the fundamental problems that we have in Oregon."

Topping Bowman's list for Oregon's legislative agenda is fixing the health care system.

Joyce DeMonnin, public outreach director for AARP Oregon, thinks people in the state voted partly with their pocketbooks and partly with their hearts. When the legislature convenes in January, she says, state lawmakers are going to have to make some tradeoffs in order to make progress on the mandates they've been given.

"We're not going to be able to do business as usual, the way we've always known it. We know that people are going to be asked to look at the whole package and, potentially, make some sacrifices and make some changes. We may have to see things a little differently."

AARP got involved in politics early in the year, launching the national "Divided We Fail" campaign to get candidates thinking beyond party lines about health care and financial security. About 7,000 Oregonians have joined the campaign by signing a "Divided We Fail" pledge.

Labor groups were keenly involved in this year's Oregon races, targeting legislative seats for what they term more "pro-working family" candidates. Leslie Frane, executive director of SEIU Local 503 says her union's "picks" were victorious in six out of seven Oregon House races.

"We were able to significantly change the composition of the legislature in a way that we think will lead to good public policy going forward, which is especially important as we look at tough economic times."

Frane believes the election will minimize what she considers gridlock in the Oregon Legislature. She says members of her union knocked on more than 100,000 doors and made 230,000 phone calls in the past few months.

The Oregon Education Association (OEA) was a major contributor of volunteer time and money to campaigns for and against several of the statewide ballot measures. But OEA President Larry Wolf says voters came through for schools on the local level, too.

"When you look at the number of levies that were passed around the state, at a time when the economy isn't doing real well, it's a clear message that we want to fund public schools in a way where they can be the best they can be."

Wolf says teachers also are pleased that two ballot measures failed: Measure 58, limiting bilingual education for students to two years, and Measure 60, which would have based teacher pay on classroom performance rather than seniority.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OR