This year will bring a lot of action on every level from cities, counties, the state and federal arenas.
Every election is important and needs careful consideration, but often voters sit back and let other people do the work. In Oregon it is difficult to find an excuse to not cast a ballot because they are mailed to registered voters and can be mailed in or dropped at a number of convenient ballot box locations. Few people will disagree that our political bodies are in a mess.
At the City level, City Councils are regaled with the tasks of keeping communities safe, while struggling to maintain services without sufficient revenues. Whether it is Pit Bull dogs, smoking in the parks, or medical marijuana, or zoning issues, council members must make decisions and the voters must elect those council members. Some of the City issues will show up on the voter’s ballots.
At the County level, the County Commissioners who are elected are forced to make difficult decisions as well. One measure that will show up in Jackson County this election is concerning GMO seeds. It is an emotional issue not backed by a lot of scientific fact, but people deserve to make their preferences known with the ballot. Dennis Richardson, State representative who is running for Governor has voted for the issue to be a State decision because he is certain it will reach the courts and in his opinion Oregon Counties do not have sufficient revenue to engage in costly court cases, therefore the State of Oregon should take on that responsibility.
That is one of the State issues that deserve attention from the voters. Dennis Richardson has served Southern Oregon well. His bid for Governor will only succeed if Southern Oregon voters turn out in big numbers to counter the overwhelming number of voters in the Northern part of the state. Then there is the attempt to unseat State Senator Alan Bates.
On the federal level, Senators Wyden and Merkley are challenged to represent Oregon interests. Critics say they don’t do enough. Challengers will be stepping up to see if they can do better. Congressman Greg Walden comes under scrutiny in the House.
The individual voter is the only way to make the changes that need to be made and to assure that government at all levels reflects the views of the citizens.