State of Oregon Archives: on Government Reform

Bud Pierce: Mandate government to release requested info for free

Q: How would you improve transparency in government?

PIERCE: Mandate that the governor's office, and all government agencies, release requested information to the press and citizens at no financial cost.

Source: League of Women Voters Guide to 2016 Oregon Senate race Sep 9, 2016

Kate Brown: Disclose lobbyist info & pay, on public website

Q: How would you improve transparency in government?

BROWN: Bringing greater transparency to State government is one of my highest priorities. In the most recent legislative session, I am proud to have passed a bill requiring lobbyists to disclose on a publicly available website who they work for and what they are getting paid to do that work. One of the first things I did after being sworn in as Governor was to pass an ethics package designed to bring both more accountability and more transparency to our government. But I know that there is more work to do. I believe strongly that it shouldn't be easier to [track] a Fed Ex package than it is to find out what your government is doing. That is why I intend to create a Pubic Records Advocate--so that an independent entity can make public records available in a way that is faster, fairer and consistent.

Source: League of Women Voters Guide to 2016 Oregon Governor race Sep 9, 2016

Kevin Stine: Allow absentee ballots for all; extend early voting

Q: Do you support or oppose the statement, "Make voter registration easier"?

A: Strongly support. We should make access easier nationwide. Allow absentee ballots for all that request them. Every state should have extended early voting.

Source: Email interview on 2016 Oregon Senate race with OnTheIssues Jan 1, 2016

Bob Niemeyer: Go back to voting in person, with verified photo ID

The voting age in America was lowered to 18 the same year I turned 18. I was asked to be part of the voting process. After everyone had voted, there was an overwhelming sense of having done our Patriotic Duty. We need to go back to voting in person at the precincts across Oregon. If only to revive the sense of Patriotic Duty.
Source: 2016 Oregon Gubernatorial campaign website, Oct 9, 2015

Mark Callahan: Limit terms in Congress & the U.S. Senate

I support term limits. When our country was founded, those that served in Congress started out as successful business owners or members invested in their communities. After time, the community members would come to them and say, "it's your turn", and the community member would serve a limited term in Congress or the U.S. Senate, then come home and re-integrate themselves back into their community or run their business again. In present day, there are career politicians that have been in Congress for 20, 30, or even 40 years, that literally have nothing to come back to in terms of their life before they served in Congress.
Source: 2016 Oregon Senate campaign website, Oct 9, 2015

Monica Wehby: Founders never imagined a permanent political class

The problem with career politicians is that they become so out of touch that they lose the ability to relate to every day Americans. It's time for a return to a problem solvers approach, an approach our nation was founded upon. Five physicians signed the Declaration of Independence. Josiah Bartlett was a renowned innovator in the field of medicine and is also considered one of the chief architects of the US Constitution. Our founding fathers intended that we elect people to office who have excelled in non-political fields and who can bring their experience, knowledge and talents to a deliberative body for the betterment of every day Americans.

The founders didn't add term limits to the constitution because they never imagined that we would create a permanent political class. Serving in office was considered a sacrifice. When you got the job done you returned to your family. That's why Dr. Wehby supports a two-term limit for US Senators. Twelve years is enough time to get the job done.

Source: 2014 Senate campaign website,, "Issues" Mar 18, 2014

Jeff Merkley: Nuclear option: Allow confirmation of Obama's appointees

Ever since they arrived in the Senate, Jeff Merkley and Tom Udall have had one huge, seemingly insurmountable goal: To change Senate rules on the filibuster. On Thursday, they won.

"This is a terrific vote for the US Senate," said Merkley. "The American people want this institution to function. They want to see it take on the big issues. They don't want to see the entire calendar of the year eaten up by paralyzing process on nominations."

Filibuster reform has long been a marquee issue for Merkley (OR) & Udall (NM), who are part of a new breed of Senate reformers who have never served in the minority. Now, they're looking to expand their change to filibuster rules governing legislation--but that's going to be a much harder sell.

Critics of the two first-term senators say they led a movement they don't even understand--they have only served in the majority, longtime GOP senators charge, and don't appreciate ways that the filibuster has been used to the benefit of the country in the past.

Source: coverage of 2014 Oregon Senate race Nov 21, 2013

Kate Brown: Oregon sees high turnout because of vote-by-mail

On average, 51.6% of eligible US voters cast ballots, but six states averaged more than 60%, including Oregon. Oregon is one of two states that employ a vote-by-mail only system. "There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that we see high turnout because of vote-by-mail," says Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown. "It's extremely convenient and accessible; it's secure and cost-effective."

Oregonians passed a referendum in 1998 to institute the vote-by-mail system--with almost 70% approval. Secretary Brown rejects the criticism that mail-in ballots diminish the sense of civic engagement people may feel standing in line with their fellow citizens on Election Day. She says Oregonians have block parties and talk to their neighbors; issues are discussed in churches and synagogues. "Civic engagement is much more meaningful and expansive when you have a ballot in hand for 2-1/2 weeks," Brown says. "Election Day is not just one day--it's several."

Source: Christian Science Monitor on 2016 Oregon Gubernatorial race Nov 6, 2012

Kate Brown: 15 million ballots via vote-by-mail with only 9 fraud cases

Oregon is one of two states that employ a vote-by-mail only system. Voters receive an information pamphlet three weeks before the election, followed a few days later by their ballots.

A criticism of mail-in ballots is that there is more opportunity for voter fraud. Since 2000, 15 million ballots have been cast by mail in Oregon, but there have been only nine convictions of voter fraud, Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown says. The state takes extensive measures to ensure that ballots are secure: each envelope has a unique barcode, election officials verify every signature, and there are cameras in every election office to monitor the counting. People can also check online to make sure their ballot was counted.

Source: Christian Science Monitor on 2016 Oregon Gubernatorial race Nov 6, 2012

Gordon Harold Smith: Increase individuals campaign donation limit

Source: Oregon Congressional Election 2008 Political Courage Test Jun 18, 2008

Bruce Broussard: Good government follows clearly outlined public procedures

Parking lot politics is not good politics. Sometimes the result may seem to produce innovation, but it robs the citizens of the right to participate in the democratic process. Same-sex marriage policy, for example, while an important issue to many Oregonians, was ‘railroaded’ past the people of Multnomah Country without the benefit of open, democratic debate and decision-making. It creates the unfortunate situation in which the value of the policies in question don’t get addressed and must take second place to whims of those currently in positions of power. It is not a right use of the people’s trust. Good Government is government that follows the public procedures clearly outlined in the laws that govern our land.
Source: 2004 Senate campaign website, Aug 11, 2004

Kevin Mannix: Fix budget with government structure change not tax hike

Oregonians should oppose the January 2003 income tax increase measure because it simply pumps more income into government without changing the way government does business and it will further deepen Oregon’s recession. As Oregon’s new Governor, in January, I will collaborate with the legislature to implement emergency structural changes to fill the budget gap without raising taxes, without hurting education for our kids, and without endangering our neighborhoods.
Source: 2002 Gubernatorial website,, “Budget” Oct 15, 2002

Winona LaDuke: Stop corporate funding of elections

“We can’t have corporations underwrite our elections process,” she said, adding, “it is also a question of ethics for the politicians.”
Source: U-wire article, “Native Week at Oregon State” May 23, 2000

Jeff Merkley: Spending limits on campaigns, plus full disclosure

Q: Do you support requiring full and timely disclosure of campaign finance information?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you support imposing spending limits on state level political campaigns?

A: Yes.

Q: Would you vote to ratify an amendment to the U.S. Constitution requiring an annual balanced federal budget?

A: No.

Q: Do you support using vote-by-mail for all elections?

A: Yes.

Source: Oregon State 1998 National Political Awareness Test Nov 1, 1998

John Kitzhaber: Limit individual campaign donations; require full disclosure

Source: Oregon Gubernatorial 1998 National Political Awareness Test Nov 1, 1998

  • The above quotations are from State of Oregon Politicians: Archives.
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