Democracy - Means Speaking Up

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Portland Town Hall Meeting

Portland town hall meeting held by Oregon Senator Ginny Burdick, District 18 and Senator Robert Wagner District 18, Oregon - image.


Democracy - Means Speaking Up by Jack Kerfoot

My daily news sources tell me that American's are dissatisfied with their government at all levels. We have an unprecedented level of freedom of speech, but are we exercising our freedom effectively? Is a political rant on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. effective? In my opinion, it is essential that every American, let our elected officials at the city, state and federal level know our concerns.


On October 29th, I attended a town hall meeting held by Oregon Senator Ginny Burdick, District 18 and Senator Robert Wagner District 18. I was disappointed that there were only 35 to 40 people attending the meeting at the Multnomah Arts Center in Portland.


My goal in attending was to raise the following three issues to Senator Burdick, who is the Senate Majority Leader and Senator Wagner: 1. Sex-Trafficking In Oregon - A Portland State University study reported that at least 469 children were victims of sex trafficking over a four-year period in the Portland Metropolitan Area [1]. The average of the victims was 15 1/2 years old and the youngest was only 8 years old. Legislation can be taken at the city and state level to address the heinous crime of sex trafficking.


2. Climate Change - A few of us spoke up for legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Oregon. Senator Burdick was taken back when I told her that Oregon's move to renewable energy over the past fifteen years has been at a significantly slower pace than many states in the Great Plains. Oregon has significant undeveloped onshore wind, offshore wind, hybrid (wind + solar) and geothermal potential would allow our state to generate all our electrical power from renewables.


3. Zenith Oil Terminal - The facility, located only a few hundred feet from the Willamette River is importing bitumen from the tar sands projects in Canada and then exporting the highly viscous oil overseas. The facility is located on an earthquake liquification zone. The oil storage tanks at facility could rupture as spill over 60 million gallons of black, toxic bitumen into the Willamette River. British Columbia, Washington and California all have legislation which prohibit these types of oil export terminals.


I applaud Senators Burdick and Wagner for holding town hall meetings on a regular basis with their constituents. My only concern is the modest turnout of people to express their concerns and support of major issues impacting our state.


If I am fortunate enough to be elected to the Portland City Council in 2020, I pledge that I will continue to meet and listen to the concerns of the different communities around the city on a regular basis. If elected, you will have someone in city hall that will listen and respond to your concerns.


This article was reprinted with permission from Jack Kerfoot. Jack is a candidate for Portland Commissioner.


[1] https://wwwjustie.gov/usao-or/pr/hundreds-children-are-being-trafficked-sex-portland

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