I don't get it. I really don't ... a candidate running for State government ... an incumbent running to retain her seat in State government ... an incumbent who sits on the Joint Ways & Means Committee, who is running to retain her seat in our State government, one who has had a hand in passing the budgetary disasters from which our state is suffering, one who has voted for ever increasing taxes, fees, permit requirements and the like ... and one who has voted for spending the income from those tax, fee, and permit cost increases ... which has resulted in ever increasing programs and their associated costs, requiring a vicious cycle of even *more* increases ... Well, I just don't just understand how this person thinks.
In a recent radio interview with KCUP radio (you can listen to is here), Jean Cowan, Representative for Oregon's House District 10 asserted that we're facing a budget crisis "through no fault of our own" ... she said that the problems we're facing are hard to understand and that there's no easy fix. Simple, Rep. Cowan ... stop voting to increase taxation (which *is* driving our companies out of business and many out of the state, contrary to her assertion that such claims "just don't hold water") and stop voting to increase spending. Seems pretty simple to me.
If Rep. Cowan were sincere in her assertions that she's supportive of Oregon's kids getting a good education, she wouldn't vote to saddle their parents with an ever-increasing debt load -- *especially* when the rising taxes are driving more and more companies to their economic deaths, eliminating the very jobs that pay the employees, the ones that make up the tax base, the ones that ultimately are responsible for funding our public institutions/programs such as our schools, which she supposedly "supports". If she were a responsible member of the Ways & Means Committee, she would insist that all programs that want continued State funding begin with zero-base budgeting ... let these programs justify their existences rather than giving them automatic funding with automatic increases. Sorry, but State programs should have to function like businesses, which don't automatically get increases ... businesses have to re-examine their budgets and see where they can logically increase based on cash flow ... and where they need to decrease based on cash flow. No business can just decide to make a huge increase in their prices and expect to keep their customers ... State programs shouldn't expect to do that either.
If she were a responsible representative (no matter what committee she sat on), she'd stick to what principles she claims to have, and back up her claims of believing in the importance of public school education for Oregon's kids, and she'd insist that the schools be funded first, instead of held hostage at the end of the session as a tool for passing higher and higher budgets. Any representative that doesn't do that should be ashamed.
This interview got me to wondering. What do her constituents think? Do they appreciate that she supports them all and votes in the best interest of/represents all her constituents? That's what State Representatives do, isn't it?
Think again. While many seem to appreciate Ms. Cowan's part in helping bring NOAA (yet another public sector employer) to the Oregon Coast, some are more doubtful of the candidate's intent to represent them. Much as Eugene's Mayor Kitty Piercy claims to be "Mayor for All Eugene" but in reality seems to be more interested in being "Mayor for All of Eugene With Whom She Agrees and/or Supported Her Run for Election/Re-Election" ... Rep. Cowan seems happiest to truly represent only those that supported her candidacy.
As Ellen Hawks submitted to Salem's "Statesman Journal" newspaper recently:
"I used to take my mother to the Waldport senior center for meals. We were rudely treated and sexually discriminated against, relegated to the "single ladies table." I complained to the Oregon Cascades West Council of Governments, repeatedly. I was either insulted, blamed, or ignored.
I wrote to Rep. Jean Cowan. Part of her response was, "My records show that I either called or visited your house to ask for your support on November 2, 2004 and September 20, 2006. Both times you said you would NOT support my candidacy."