This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 9, 2002 1:49 AM. The previous post in this blog was What are they smoking?. The next post in this blog is Typical timing. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Friday, August 9, 2002

The Gov

Oregon Gov. Kitzhaber's reckless stand against the State Legislature's school funding plan is perhaps the final chapter in an 8-year term that has been largely a disappointment. Although I am a registered Democrat and very leery of the Oregon version of the Republican Party (there's a long blog entry for another day), I have never understood why the public was so enamored of this guy. Strutting around in blazer, tie (sometimes), and jeans (yuck), this former doctor doesn't have much to show for his stay in the Governor's Mansion. His official web biography states it this way:

During his first term as governor, Kitzhaber oversaw the expansion of the Oregon Health Plan, which reduced the rate of uninsured Oregon children from 21 percent to eight percent. In addition, Kitzhaber's welfare reform plan, known as the Oregon Option, has reduced the number of welfare caseloads more than 50 percent, saved more than $200 million in the state budget, and helped nearly 20,000 Oregonians find work.

Preserving Oregon's environment remains a priority for Kitzhaber, and during his first term he developed and implemented the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds. This is a collaborative plan that encourages federal, state and local government agencies to work with private landowners to restore watershed health and recover endangered salmon species.

Education and opportunity for Oregon's children also has been a centerpiece of Kitzhaber's administration. He has fought for stable education funding, implementing the Education Act for the 21st Century, increasing investment in Oregon's colleges and universities, including freezing tuition, and juvenile crime prevention.

Taking the last plank first, while he has fought for stable funding for schools, he has failed, failed, failed, as this year's fiasco of special session after special session of the Legislature has proved. As for the environment, a program that "encourages" folks to do things hardly seems like a major accomplishment. And for him to take credit for welfare reform is somewhere in the general direction of Al Gore's internet. OK, he knows what he is talking about on the Oregon Health Plan, but that plan was created before he was elected governor, and it has not been flawless under his leadership. When the medical director of the plan defiantly surrendered his license to practice medicine rather than undergo treatment for alcoholism, following his arrest for driving under the influence, I started to wonder about Kitzhaber's political "doctor card."

I remember when "Kitz and Katz" ran the Legislature and were the pundits' darlings, but that was many years ago. Kitz's time as governor largely mirrors Katz's time as mayor of Portland. They haven't really made much of a positive impact. Their tenures have been... well... the best word I can come up with is odd.

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