Before Voting for Governor - by Stan Shell

Before Voting for Governor by Stan Shell

Look at Florida

I noticed a short time ago that the polls between Oregon’s governor Kate Brown and her Republican opponent are very close.  I heard him speak on the radio a while back and he sounded OK- -nothing abnormal.  Meanwhile, our right-leaning Portland paper recently faulted Kate for not completely fixing our decade-old PERS problem.   And, I know she seems at times a little bland in our hyper-agitated political climate of today.  So maybe some of you are thinking of switching your votes and trying out a Republican governor for the next four years.  This would be similar to those who decided to try out an outsider who would “shake things up” as our next President.  How’s that working out for you?

But, if we elected a Republican governor what could we expect for the next four years?  I would suggest we look at Florida for a hint.  I spent 25 years in that absolutely beautiful state prior to moving to Newport 15 years ago and have closely followed its politics since.  For the last 8 years their governor has been Republican Rick Scott.  He has an agenda that closely mirrors our current President.  In fact, he is so opposed to the concept of climate change that he eliminated the phrase “climate change” and “global warming” from all state documents his administration produces.  While scores of natural scientists attest to rising sea levels regularly flooding Miami Beach and other nearby locations on a sunny day, the best the State of Florida can do is remark on “nuisance flooding”.  How would that attitude play here in the West where wild fires are becoming almost a 24/7 occurrence?

Recently USA Today carried an article about how 20 states, including Florida, are suing in a Texas court to overturn Obamacare altogether.  All but one of those states has a Republican governor.   

One of our most valuable state programs is the Oregon Health Plan through which low income individuals can have access to health care with federal assistance.  Expanded Medicaid is the base of our OHP.  Florida has not adopted expanded Medicaid despite 68 % public support.  That’s 1.24 million individuals who have no assistance because they have a Republican governor.  Each of the 17 states refusing expanded Medicaid  are controlled by Republican governors and/or legislatures.

Don’t forget, the governor we elect this year will be in charge of redistricting in 2020.  In this case, look to Wisconsin where gerrymandering produces large  Republican majorities with roughly equal Democratic voters- -no Electoral College necessary. Does Oregon want to join this club of science deniers, health care restrictors, and voter manipulators?  I sure hope not. I’m voting for Kate.