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May 2, 2005         73rd Session, Issue 9
Letter from Senator Doug Whitsett

Dear Friends,

Four months of the 73rd legislative session are now in the books; time is moving quickly.  For my money, the quicker we are able to resolve our issues the better.  No good can come from an extended session with legislators hanging around in Salem with too little to do.  Given the number of questions the legislature has yet to resolve, I thought it might be useful if I laid out my position on some prominent issues.

Obviously the ongoing budget negotiations are foremost on everyone’s mind.  The fact is, we have a very tight budget and that means tough choices will need to be made.  I support a budget that provides ample funding for education, but does so without neglecting other critical issues like seniors programs, community colleges and community corrections.  The simple fact is that many of Oregon’s budget problems cannot be solved by more funding.  There is a crisis of accountability in Oregon that far exceeds a crisis in funding. 

Another prominent issue is the debate over civil unions.  Let me attempt to speak plainly regarding this very difficult issue.  In the name of fairness, I support granting certain benefits to unmarried adults in a dependant relationship if benefits are granted without regard to sexual orientation.  For example, benefits would be available to two elderly sisters living together and sharing expenses as well as persons in same-sex dependant relationships. 

This type of arrangement has been termed reciprocal benefits.  The benefits would likely include property ownership and intestate succession as well as the right to make medical and end of life decisions.  I think this is a fair accommodation and a reasonable alternative to civil unions.  Most important, reciprocal benefits are not a marriage substitute as has been proposed by Senate Bill 1000.  Put simply, I oppose Senate Bill 1000 because it is a  thinly veiled attempt to overturn the will of the voters who spoke loud and clear in passing Measure 36.

The likelihood is that things will get much rockier before reaching any resolution.  My hope is that politics won’t get in the way of the people’s business, but I realize that may be asking a lot.  I appreciate those of you that have contacted my office to voice their opinion and hope that you will keep in touch—if we don’t stand up for rural Oregon no one else will.     




Update—The President of the Senate has closed several Senate Committees including two that I sit on, the Transportation Committee and the Commerce Committee.  For the rest of the session these committees will only meet when called upon by the President. 


Eagle Point Citizen First Classified Member of Oregon Education Association Board

Gail Rasumussen, a long time employee of Eagle Point School District, will be the first classified employee and the first minority to serve on the Oregon Education Association Board.  This distinction is made doubly impressive by the fact that she will serve as vice president of the board.  Gail started as a receptionist at Eagle Point High School 18 years ago and has served in several capacities since then including registration attendant and in the athletic department.  Currently Gail is the Program Coordinator of the Eagle Point High School Work Program at the V.A. Domiciliary.  She has been a great asset to the district and will continue to serve well on the OEA board.  I urge all members of the district to offer their congratulations to Gail for this honor and to support her so that she can be a strong voice for rural districts in this important position.    

Community College Outstanding Student Awards

Last week I attended the Oregon Community Colleges Outstanding Student Awards Banquet.  Two students from Klamath Community College were honored for their exemplary work and I wanted to recognize them here as well. 

Pamela Weaver                      Major: Nursing                                  G.P.A.: 3.94

Pamela has wanted to become a nurse for some time and at the age of 39 she will soon graduate with an Associates Degree.  Pamela plans to pursue her education and obtain both a Bachelors Degree in nursing and a Masters degree.  In addition to working as a nurse, Pamela hopes to eventually teach nursing courses so that she can pass her knowledge on to new nurses.

Kelly Sean Cook                    Major: Science/General Studies       G.P.A.: 4.0

Kelly has returned to community college after a spending time in the United States Navy.  Kelly believes his naval experience gave him a desire to excel and a drive to help others.  After receiving his Associates degree he plans to transfer to OIT where he wants to major in Nuclear Medical Imaging.  Kelly also wants to teach while he furthers his career in the medical field.

For Information on the bills that Senator Whitsett is Sponsoring, visit his legislative Web site at:


Please Contact or Visit us in Salem

Senator Doug Whitsett
Party: R  District: 28
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1728
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE., S-302, Salem, OR, 97301
Email: sen.dougwhitsett@state.or.us
Website: http://www.leg.state.or.us/whitsett






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