The End is Near

Alan DeBoer

The End is Near

Hello Friends,

As I drive the 500-mile round trip between Salem and Ashland each week, my thoughts are often with my friend, the late Senator, doctor and Rotarian, Alan Bates.

A recent guest editorial from a former Jackson County commissioner stated his views of what Bates would do. That is actually the first question I ask myself with every decision and vote that I must make as I serve out the remainder of his term in the Oregon Senate.

At this point, we are poised to adjourn the 2017 regular session without having taken any major action on the state’s Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) or a corporate tax package. We are unacceptably kicking the can down the road to future legislatures.

That is not leadership.

As I watch the state of Illinois slide into the failure of bankruptcy, it inspires me to recommit to our state and the need to help address these very serious problems.

Our unfunded PERS liability grows larger every year, which puts each of our citizens at risk, as well as every school district, city and county in Oregon. If this continues to be ignored, our bonding rate will change and cost our citizens many more millions of dollars as we borrow money we don’t have. The retirement plans of thousands of our hard-working public servants will be in greater and greater jeopardy. All of this is happening because legislators refuse to do their jobs. The bottom line is that we need to work together a whole lot better than we have been.

Leadership could, and should, be an effective tool. But instead, the House Speaker brought forth a plan, without consulting other legislative leaders, that would change the entire focus of our attempted efforts at much-needed reform. It resulted in thousands of phone calls being made to advocate for a plan that would, in my opinion, ultimately bring about failure.

House leadership then infuriated both sides of the Senate by deciding that a 51 percent vote can be used to pass a revenue package, when the state constitution requires a supermajority to do so.

Further complicating matters is the fact that special interest groups advance their agendas by bombarding our offices with hundreds of form e-mails, many of which are not from constituents or people who are even aware that this is being done in their name. This makes it more difficult for sincere, personalized e-mails from concerned citizens to get through to us.

In our capitol building in Salem, I try to start every day with hope. That hope is dashed and divided when plans don’t work out and ideas don’t come together. Those initial hopes often turn into disappointment, then people tend to get upset. Hope shines a light again, then the process starts all over.

I am reminded that we have had multiple lawmakers with heart problems this session, and I constantly remember Alan Bates and wonder what he would think of all this. It gives me much to think about as I make my weekly commute from Ashland to Salem.  

Yours truly,


Sen. Alan DeBoer

Senate District 3

Capitol Phone: 503-986-1703
Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE, S-421, Salem, Oregon 97301