January 13th, 2017 - The Time Before The Start

Jeff Kruse

JANUARY 13th, 2017


Monday was the swearing in day for both newly elected and re-elected members of the Legislature as well as the Governor.  I was sworn in as one of the re-elected members of the Senate.  I always find it to be a moving moment and something I take very seriously, as we are swearing to uphold both the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the state of Oregon.  Our oaths of office tend to get trampled on when we get into the real politics of the Legislative Session. Which I find regrettable.  While there will be a multitude of subjects to cover over the next six months, I want to start with one aspect of our nation’s founding documents.

The one subject I have received the most e-mails and phone calls about since the election is the Electoral College and the “need” to go to a popular vote.  I can understand that if you were a Clinton supporter you would want such a change, but I want to point out one very interesting aspect of the popular vote.  While Clinton did win the popular vote by around 2.5 million votes, it should also be pointed out she won California by around 4 million votes.  So, if you eliminate California, Trump won the rest of the nation by 1.5 million votes.  This points out the wisdom behind the Electoral College, and also the thinking of the Founders when the wrote the Constitution.

The main purpose of the U.S. Constitution is to LIMIT the power of the federal government and to protect the individual.  While Congress and the Courts have unacceptably expanded that authority, the Constitution spells out specifically the proper role of government.  The Founders believed, as do I, that most authority should rest with state and local governments.  That is why Congress was set up the way it is.  The House of Representatives to represent the people and the Senate to represent the states.  The wisdom of this is to ensure that states with smaller populations have an equal voice in their government.

The Electoral College is set up in the same way. Each state has the same number of electors as they have members of Congress. In the case of Oregon, we have 7 votes in the Electoral College, which actually gives us a stronger voice then we would have based only on population.  Moving to a popular vote would mean that about six states would receive all of the focus and I doubt that Oregon, with only 3% of the population, would ever again enter into the calculations of either party.  Letting California decide our elections is not a path I want to go down.

Let’s be clear: we cannot allow Californians to dictate public policy for the rest of the country. We are not a democracy; we are a representative republic.  That is true from Congress, clear down to city councils.  A true democracy cannot function beyond a very small scale.  The brilliant men who founded this country and wrote our Constitution, created a nation un-paralleled in history.  My hope is the Trump administration will move to stop the rapid growth of the federal government and put states back in the driver’s seat.

Yours truly,

Senator Jeff Kruse
Senate District 1

email: Sen.JeffKruse@oregonlegislature.gov I phone: 503-986-1701
address: 900 Court St NE, S-205, Salem, OR, 97301
website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/kruse