Here we go again. The political races are heating up as we approach the middle of October and with it come the disingenuous attacks and insinuations. In the Governor’s race I am seeing some ridiculous attacks coming from the Kitzhaber camp in particular. Kitzhaber says that Chris Dudley is inexperienced and unprepared to govern the state of Oregon. This from the man who already had eight years trying to govern a state that he himself called “ungovernable”. With Chris Dudley we get someone with fresh ideas, clearly stated, and with no connection to the failed policies and failing politicians that brought our pioneering state to the condition that we now find it and ourselves in. We have failing schools and businesses leaving town. We recently enacted new tax increases that we were told would avoid cuts to the vital services of schools, safety, and care for the elderly, only to find that the cuts were bigger and broader than ever projected. Our officials follow only the rules that they agree with, and judges strike down every meaningful piece of legislation brought about through our initiative process. The only organizations with the money and clout to push things through are the public employee unions who have held a stranglehold on Salem for decades. If the choice is between an honest newcomer who has no axe to grind and the welfare of the state in mind or a retread touting the very same things that put us where we are today and connected to the very organizations and values that put us in this mess then I am all for the “inexperience” that could very well be what saves this state.
Another thing that I hear is that Dudley avoided paying taxes by buying a house in Washington. He was a young man in a career that could last for twelve years or could be done tomorrow. He was intelligent enough to follow the direction of people who knew better than he how, at that stage of his life, to protect what he was earning so that he would not become one of the sad tales of athletes making a lot of money, blowing it, and living in poverty after their career ends suddenly. I like the idea that our next governor is willing to listen to his advisers and make informed decisions. Chris Dudley paid Oregon income taxes on every dollar that he made here. He cheated no one. I would choose that over someone who deals in political favors for personal favors, and operates in a murky world of backdoor deals and questionable associations.
The entrenched powers are so worried about Dudley’s popularity and their own culpability in the condition they have left our state in that they even find fault with Dudley’s decision to donate his home for the fire department to practice on and then taking advantage of the legal deduction. Legal tax deductions were put into the tax code by design, likely by the very same people now trying to fault someone for being wise with his money. It tells me that Chris is going to be smart with my money also. Oregon has come up on the short end of the federal funding stick for years under the democrat’s watch. Time to start finding those silver linings with our state’s financing also. Don’t fault a guy for financial frugality. Encourage him.
Kitzhaber is promoting only more government spending. Renovating schools is a fine idea, one that should begin just as soon as our next governor leads us out of this morass and we can afford to begin these worthy public works projects and more like them. Until we can support basic school functions and basic services to seniors and fund our police and fire departments sufficiently we should be concentrating on bringing business back and supporting the businesses that are here, because until the businesses in Oregon begin to recover, we will not recover. If we don’t create more private sector jobs to support the public sector, there will be no recovery, only more taxes, more unemployment, and shorter and shorter school years. Dudley’s public sector spending is supported by private sector support as well. If businesses thrive, communities thrive.
Much is made of Dudley being a former athlete, as though that is a detriment to his ability to be a good governor. His athletic career gave us all a chance to observe the makeup of the man through the manner in which he comported himself on the court, as well as off. During his career he distinguished himself as someone who made the most of the tools that he was given. Without the physical skills of a Shaquille O’Neal or the talent of a LaBron James, he made himself into a valuable role player and a trusted teammate and forged a long and successful career doing the hard work necessary for his teammates to shine. He showed himself to be a caring and compassionate man off of the court as well, running a basketball camp each year for diabetic children to encourage them with his example.
I contrast the honest and humble Dudley to the arrogance and swagger of Kitzhaber and his elitist attitude of “smarter than you”, touting his emergency room experience as though it had any more relevance to governance than an athletic career. Thousands of people work as emergency room physicians every day, but that does not qualify them to govern. It is the makeup of the man that matters, what he cares about and how he treats other people, especially people that he disagrees with. The only thing that I would not trust Chris Dudley with are free throws. Beyond that I know that he is a fierce competitor and a loyal teammate. Kitzhaber is an admitted loner who resents being questioned or challenged.
I believe that Chris Dudley will be there to serve the people of Oregon. I think that Kitzhaber has his own ideas of what should be and to heck with anyone who disagrees. Albert Einstein once said that the true definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I think that Oregon is ready for a breath of fresh air. Fresh blood sounds good right now. I think that I’ll vote for real, positive change, and that sounds like Chris Dudley.