Bipartisan team of Smith and Metsger win the day

By RAELYNN RICARTE

News staff writer

November 11, 2006

Sen. Rick Metsger, D-Welches, and Rep. Patti Smith, R-Corbett, credit their bipartisan teamwork for wins in their respective races on Tuesday.

“I think the voters want people in office who work across party lines to find solutions and get the job done. Sen. Metsger and I have clearly shown that ability and its benefits to our districts,” said Smith.

She and Metsger both felt subjected to a spate of negative campaign ads from their opponents — and they believe that strategy backfired. The two incumbents stayed determinedly positive in spite of what they felt were “distortions” of their respective voting records.

They believe not getting into the fray gained Metsger the District 26 seat and Smith the District 52 position.

“I think the results of this election demonstrated that you are not going to win the favor of voters by simply downgrading your appointment. People are fed up with attack ads and are looking for real solutions,” said Metsger.

He admitted to feeling a “little beat up” after months in a hotly contested race with Republican opponent Carol York, a Hood River County Commissioner.

“From a personal standpoint I would like to say that Carol worked harder than any opponent I’ve ever had and I give her a lot of credit for that,” he said.

Metsger, who captured almost 65 percent of the local vote, said he is “extremely pleased and humbled” by having so many ballots marked in his favor.

He plans to take a few days off and then get back to work fulfilling his campaign pledges. His goal is to put more Oregon State Police troopers back on the road, expand early education programs, and overhaul the state’s troubled health care system.

“When this session is over, I’m going to be able to say we got it done,” said Metsger.

Smith garnered 51.4 percent of the county’s votes in her runoff with Democratic challenger Suzanne VanOrman. She gained an 11 point advantage in Clackamas County and felt the election results were a notable achievement in an anti-Republican political climate.

Because of her proven ability to find common ground with people from varied viewpoints, Smith is not worried about having Democrats now in control of the House, as well as the Senate and governor’s office.

“I work in a bipartisan manner so I should do just fine,” she said.

Her first order of business will be working next week with the Joint Emergency Preparedness Committee on legislative concepts. She said the recent flooding in several areas of the state have underscored the importance of equipping emergency responders for disaster relief.

Then, Smith will join Metsger in crafting a bill to lift regulations that currently impede the Hood River County School District from siting a new facility where it is most affordable.

“There are a lot of issues that we need to address so it’s time to get back to work,” said Smith.

Meanwhile, York is preparing to step down from her District 1 role on the county board at the end of the year. She said, after 10 years of public service, it is time to pursue some of her other interests, such as studying foreign languages, skiing — and even settling down in front of the fire place with a good book.

York does plan to remain on the board of directors for both the Columbia Gorge Community College Foundation and Adventure Cycling.

“It was a terrific experience and I learned so much about the people in the district; their stories, interests and concerns. It was just amazing,” said York.

She said the focus of her campaign was not to be negative, but to point out the differences between Metsger and herself on key issues, such as taxes.

“I think talking straight on the record is fair. Nobody sees eye to eye on every issue and I think we all in public service need to ask questions and get the best information to make a decision,” said York.

While knocking on hundreds of doors across the district, York said she conquered her life-long fear of dogs — one bite and two scratches later. She considers that a “huge benefit” of her run at the state office.

On Election Day, VanOrman received a bouquet of flowers from her son, Justin, and a note that told her to “focus on the journey and not on the destiny” because the best lessons in life happened along the way.

Although she did not win her race, VanOrman said the biggest lesson of her political journey was one of gratitude. She said the tireless dedication of Jim Greenleaf, her campaign manager, and a small army of helpers was “heartwarming.”

“In terms of long-term friendships I’m a winner. It’s just been wonderful,” she said. In her follow-up interview, VanOrman did not choose to dwell on details of the campaign season. She did congratulate Patti Smith on her victory and reiterate her thankfulness for the efforts made by her supporters. Since retiring earlier this year from duties as director of Mid-Columbia Head Start, VanOrman has been busy with politics. She is now looking forward to not having deadlines to meet for the first time in her adult life. “It’s going to be a real pleasure to wake up in the morning and wonder, ‘What am I going to do today?’” said VanOrman.

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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 www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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