Westlund's third way.Byline: The Register-Guard
After speaking to dozens of candidates running for state and local offices in the May 16 primary election, it was refreshing to spend an hour with state Sen. Ben Westlund Ben Westlund (born September, 1949 in Long Beach, California) is a Democratic Oregon state senator representing District 27, which covers most of Deschutes County and includes the city of Bend, Oregon. this week. He's not on the primary ballot, so he wasn't looking for Looking for
In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with. an endorsement. Westlund just wanted to talk about Oregon, and where he would lead the state if he's elected governor as an independent in November.
What's refreshing about Westlund is that he feels free to speak his mind. He left the Republican Party last year, which released him from the restraints of party discipline. He survived a brush with cancer in 2003, an experience that left him with the roll-the-dice attitude of a man who knows he won't live forever and might as well face the world on his own terms. And he has come to the bracing realization that he's not alone in his disappointment with partisan politics and the paralysis it has inflicted upon Oregon's ability to confront issues ranging from education to health care.
Westlund has represented Bend in the Legislature since 1997, first in the House and then winning election to the Senate in 2004. His break with the Republicans came after he supported a bill last year to legalize le·gal·ize
tr.v. le·gal·ized, le·gal·iz·ing, le·gal·iz·es
To make legal or lawful; authorize or sanction by law.
le civil unions for same-sex couples. "I just grew disenchanted dis·en·chant
tr.v. dis·en·chant·ed, dis·en·chant·ing, dis·en·chants
To free from illusion or false belief; undeceive.
[Obsolete French desenchanter, from Old French, with Republicans' intolerance to fellow human beings," he says. "Who am I or who are they to tell someone who they can love, or who is their family?"
Yet Westlund realized he wouldn't feel at home as a Democrat, either. "I'm a gun rights guy and and gay rights guy - where does that leave me?" he asks. So he joined the 465,000 other Oregonians who are not registered as members of any political party, the fastest-growing segment of the electorate. Among them Westlund finds "a reservoir of discontent that is much deeper than anyone realizes."
Compared to the cautious, focus-group-tested proposals advanced by most candidates, Westlund's positions are bold - or suicidal. He supports a 5 percent consumption tax such as a sales tax sales tax, levy on the sale of goods or services, generally calculated as a percentage of the selling price, and sometimes called a purchase tax. It is usually collected in the form of an extra charge by the retailer, who remits the tax to the government. or a value-added tax value-added tax (VAT), levy imposed on business at all levels of the manufacture and production of a good or service and based on the increase in price, or value, provided by each level. , with exemptions for such essentials as food and medicine. Part of the revenue would finance cuts in income, property and capital gains taxes. He also proposes getting rid of the kicker law, which requires income tax rebates when revenues exceed projections by 2 percent or more. "There's dumb, dumber, dumbest, and then there's the kicker," Westlund says.
Westlund wades further from safe political shores, saying that his proposals would not be revenue-neutral but would result in a net tax increase of $1.2 billion. With its current inadequate resources, Westlund says, the state is underfunding drug and alcohol treatment programs that save nine dollars for every dollar spent, and cutting tens of thousands of people off the Oregon Health Plan The Oregon Health Plan is the Oregon state healthcare program for low income residents of Oregon. Eligibility
Basic eligibility requires that the applicant be a resident of Oregon, as a citizen or otherwise. , while also starving basic programs ranging from education to the state police.
Oregonians voted by a margin of nearly 2-1 in 2000 to place the kicker law in the constitution, they've rejected sales tax proposals nine times, and measures to support state services with higher taxes were defeated in 2003 and 2004. Westlund knows this history. Oregonians' challenge, he says, is to "get on board, come up with a better idea or defend the status quo [Latin, The existing state of things at any given date.] Status quo ante bellum means the state of things before the war. The status quo to be preserved by a preliminary injunction is the last actual, peaceable, uncontested status which preceded the pending controversy. . We'll be better off with two of those options."
Westlund also believes Oregonians should have a constitutional right to health care. His thinking parallels that of former Gov. John Kitzhaber John Albert Kitzhaber (born March 5 1947 in Colfax, Washington) is a physician, member of the Democratic Party and former two term Governor of Oregon. He graduated from South Eugene High School in 1965, Dartmouth College in 1969, and then Oregon Health & Science University with a , who believes universal health care could be financed by aggregating the public and private funds that sustain the current system, primarily Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance. A more efficient distribution of existing resources would result in broader, more effective health care - what's missing is not money, Westlund says, but the political will to allocate it rationally.
Westlund can say these things "These Things" is an EP by She Wants Revenge, released in 2005 by Perfect Kiss, a subsidiary of Geffen Records. Music Video
The music video stars Shirley Manson, lead singer of the band Garbage. Track Listing
1. "These Things [Radio Edit]" - 3:17
2. without coming across as a big-government liberal, because he explains them in the language of a pro-business conservative: Oregon, he says, can't have a healthy economic climate without adequate public services Public services is a term usually used to mean services provided by government to its citizens, either directly (through the public sector) or by financing private provision of services. and affordable health care. He received a middling 42 percent rating from the Oregon League of Conservation Voters The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) is an independent, nonpartisan political advocacy organization that was founded in 1969 by the noted American environmentalist David Brower. in the 2005 session, and voted for Measure 37, the property rights proposal approved by voters in 2004.
Can Westlund win? No independent has been elected governor in Oregon since 1930. He still has to qualify for the ballot, and election rules written for the benefit of the major parties won't make that easy. But independents have claimed governorships in other states in recent years, usually by staking out political territory to the left of Republicans and to the right of Democrats. That's what Westlund aims to do. The discontent that Westlund senses is real, and he just might find a way to tap into it.