Metsger backs away from governor race

November 23, 2005

Oregon Sen. Rick Metsger has decided not to enter the gubernatorial race after all.

For the past several months, Metsger, D-Welches, has been exploring a candidacy against incumbent Gov. Ted Kulongoski. However, he has come to the conclusion that education and health care reforms can be more effectively driven from his current office. So, Metsger has decided to re-file for election to the District 26 seat that he has held since 1998.

“It is time we stop talking about providing our children with the finest education possible and start delivering on that promise,” he said.

He was considering a run at the top state office out of concerns that a “lack of leadership” was evidenced on issues related to education and health care. But, Metsger said, recent meetings with Democratic officials have helped him feel more optimistic about the future direction of the party.

He wants the Oregon Legislature to stabilize school funding and extend health care coverage to more of the state’s 10,000 uninsured citizens.

“In the months ahead I will work with interested colleagues and the governor to develop specific plans of action to move Oregon forward and fulfill our obligation to our children,” said Metsger.

He believes that his political background aptly demonstrates his ability to get things done. In 2003, Metsger co-authored and helped push through a $2.5 billion package to repair Oregon’s aging bridge network. It was the state’s largest investment in transportation infrastructure since the building of the interstate highway system in the 1950s.

In 2005, as chair of the Senate Committee on Business and Economic Development, Metsger co-authored Senate Bill 2048 to help utility ratepayers save millions. That legislation closed the gap between the amount energy companies charged customers and funds actually sent to local, state and federal governments. Metsger predicted that monthly utility bills could fall by as much as 8 percent for clients of large companies, such as Portland General Electric and PacifiCorp.

He believes that a proven ability to bring stakeholders together will stand him in good stead for the mission ahead. Metsger is looking forward to facilitating action on education and health care needs.

He currently sits on the Willamette River Cleanup Authority, the state Debt Policy Advisory Committee and the state Interoperability Executive Council. He has also served as a member of the Revenue Committee and Human Services Committee.

Metsger holds a bachelor’s degree in communication and master’s in teaching, both from Lewis and Clark College. He gained notoriety between 1977-92 as an award-winning journalist for CBS affiliate KOIN-TV and KXL Radio in Portland. Since stepping down from the role as a reporter, he has specialized in public affairs consulting.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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