Friday, January 14, 2011
SALEM - In the Hood River legislators' first day in office, Rep. Mark Johnson was in on a ground-breaking landmark vote, and Sen. Chuck Thomsen was part of the opening ceremony pomp.
Republicans Thomsen and Johnson, elected Nov. 2 to the Oregon Legislature, were sworn in Monday along with fellow elected members and were on hand when Gov. John Kitzhaber took the oath of office.
Thomsen and fellow Sen. Lee Beyer (D-Springfield) escorted Speaker Peter Courtney (D-Salem) to the podium for his swearing in after a brief vote in which senators supported Courtney 21-9 in a challenge by Sen. Jason Atkinson. (R-Salem). Thomsen voted for Courtney.
Thomsen, Dist. 26, has been appointed to the Environment and Natural Resources and Ways and Means committees, and the Ways and Means subcommittee on Natural Resources.
Thomsen, a Pine Grove pear grower, said he wants to give a solid pro-agriculture voice to the Environmental and Natural Resources committee.
"I'd like to see the (committee) name changed to reflect agriculture. It now has a farmer serving on the committee," said Thomsen'. His wife, Kristi, joined him at the Senate opening ceremony.
Johnson, a private contractor, Dist. 52, has earned the distinction of being one of only two freshmen representatives appointed to lead a committee. He will serve as Co-Chair of the House Education Committee's Higher Education Subcommittee, which is charged with reviewing and developing policies relating to Oregon's community colleges and universities.
Johnson voted yes in the House's first major item of business: the resolution for co-governance by Democrats and Republicans. The resolution, which passed 57-3, dramatically changes House rules in light of the half-and-half power split in the House: now at 30 representatives from each party.
"This is our opportunity to work together," Rep. Dennis Richardson of Central Point said in introducing the resolution.
"These rules will give an equal voice, equal power, to all 60 members of the House."
Rep. Peter Buckley of Ashland told the House that in the face of "uncertainty, tension and fear," the rules will help ensure "decisions are made by the group."
Johnson said of the decision, "It's going to keep the spirit of unity. I hope we can work together.
"People of Oregon are going to watch us to see what we do,"' Johnson said.
Johnson said starting his House career is was an "exciting moment."
"It's very humbling to be one of Oregon's 60 members of the House. Each of us has a definite responsibility."
Johnson was accompanied by his wife, Melodi, and daughter, Natalie, 17.
"It's my honor to serve the citizens of House District 52," Rep. Johnson said. "I look forward to working with members of both sides of the aisle to help improve our economy and balance the state budget."
"A stronger system of higher education is critical to our economic recovery," said Johnson, a member of the Hood River School Board. "As Co-Chair of the Higher Education Subcommittee, I'll work with fellow members to expand access to our community colleges, universities and workforce development programs. We will focus on giving our institutions the tools and flexibility they need to prepare their students for 21st century jobs."
Johnson will also serve on the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee and the House Business and Labor Committee. He said both committees will focus on issues and industries that are important to House District 52.
"These committee assignments give me an opportunity to protect and support our local farms and small businesses," Rep. Johnson said. "I'm hopeful we will identify and eliminate barriers to job creation, and to make state government friendlier to the farmers and businesses that are the backbone of Oregon's economy."
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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