State Representative Dennis Richardson has announced his candidacy for governor of the State of Oregon. In making the announcement, Richardson chose the Don Jones Veterans Park in Central Point because he feels the people of Oregon and the Nation owes a debt of gratitude to the veterans who have kept us free. He made the announcement on July 24 under cloudy skies but before a warm crowd.
Richardson has served in the legislature for the past 10 years, and has served on some of the more powerful and influential committees. He is currently co-chair of the Ways and Means committee.
In his plain and direct style, Richardson asked the 200 supporters in attendance at the park if they thought Oregon had a plan for the future. In paraphrasing John Kennedy, Richardson said we must stop blaming the past, but now must focus on the future.
He cited a large and growing unemployment problem where we seem to be in a slow race to the bottom. He expressed concern that fully one-third of the high school seniors in Oregon do not graduate and said that Oregon ranks 42nd in the United States in education. To further illustrate the point, he said that Oregon is even behind Bulgaria in their schooling.
Richardson has concern for forests that have become a culture of burning and fighting fire, rather than harvesting and utilizing wood products. “We’re waiting for lightning strikes,” rather than managing the forests as a source of resources.
Representative Richardson told a story about his father, who he admired greatly. He said his father’s advice was to stop digging, “if you’re digging in the wrong place.” His concern is that the Oregon Legislature is trying to fix the problem by shooting at the right target. He maintains that charging folks with higher taxes is not the answer, but putting more people to work would create a healthy economy and help ease the tax burden on those still working.
He said Oregon is at a crossroads, where the problem is not about republicans and democrats, but what is right and wrong. He further went on to say that it is about what is right for Oregon. As governor he would work to develop a plan with Oregon residents input to find out what is right for the people. From that plan he would figure out how to implement it to accomplish Oregon’s goals. But, he said that Oregon needs effective leadership and then asked the folks assembled there if they were willing to help. The crowd responded by rising to their feet and applauding.
Richardson left Central Point to make announcements in Eugene and Portland.