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Voisin: Ag strains environment

Candidate proposes farm buyout option

By TY BEAVER, Herald and NewH&N October 14, 2006

An Ashland Democrat facing incumbent Rep. Greg Walden in the Nov. 7 election for Congress said Thursday she would recommend the government offer a fair land market price to farmers who are no longer profiting from agriculture.

She told more than 50 residents attending the Klamath County Democratic Central Committee banquet that she spoke with Klamath Basin several farmers and natural resource officials and learned agriculture puts a strain on the environment.

Voisin and Democratic candidate Dr. Jim Calvert both spoke at Thursday's event.

Calvert, who calls himself a rural Democrat, said his views on farming and water issues may differ from others in his party.

He said ranchers and irrigators need access to water and further water storage should be developed to supply the water needed for agriculture and the environment.

Not afraid to stand out

"I feel that some of my opinions about it aren't in line with the Democratic Party and that's OK," he said.

Calvert faces Klamath Falls Republican Bill Garrard, who is vying for his fourth term in the state House.

Voisin, a candidate for the 2nd Congressional District, and Calvert, candidate for Oregon House District 56, used the banquet as an opportunity to energize voters and inform them of their platforms.

"We're going in the wrong direction and need a change," Voisin said.

Listening and critical thinking are important skills for any legislator, and ones she possesses, said Voisin, a teacher at Southern Oregon University in Ashland.

If elected, she said she wanted to repeal tax cuts for the wealthy, improve education, make widespread renewable energy use a priority, reform the health care system and find a nonpartisan approach to withdrawing from Iraq. Social Security reform

Social Security also needs reform, and removing the cap on taxing income beyond $90,000 would insure its future, she said.

Calvert, a physician at Cascades East Family Practice, said he would focus on improving education, health care and public safety. Ballot measures approved in recent years have cut funding to those areas, he said, and teachers and administrators are doing a good job, but large class sizes and other problems plague education.

"They need more resources to work with," he said.

Tax reform also is needed, Calvert said.

He wants to cut the state income tax in half and increase the minimum taxes for corporations while implementing a small sales tax. Such an approach would allow the state to tax the underground economy in Oregon, he said. Finding a dedicated source of funding for the Oregon State Police is another priority.

Jan Garza, chairwoman of the Klamath County Democratic Central Committee, said she was pleased with the overall turnout and enthusiasm she saw at the banquet.

"We're lit on fire," she said.




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