In November, our Political Action Committee (PAC), a committee of elected member leaders from across the state who oversee the endorsement process for our union, sat down to review candidate questionnaires and interview the candidates who are running for office, Gov. Kate Brown and Rep. Knute Buehler. Both campaigns were invited to participate, however, only Governor Brown completed the questionnaire and attended the candidate interview.
During the 2017 Legislative Session, our state faced a $1.7B budget shortfall. As each side dug-in, either calling for PERS cuts or to raise taxes, most Oregonians expected what we had seen time after time before. Soon the Governor would come forth and place their hand on the scale against PERS. Current workers would again pay for the mistakes of the past and the greed of Wall St. We’ve seen other Governors, both in Oregon and across the country, take this route.
However, as is often the case, Gov. Kate Brown broke the mold. Instead of calling for PERS cuts, she called for a balanced approach. One that would raise revenue and more importantly for our members manage PERS as a debt, not slash it at the altar of easy-politics. When the dust settled on an incredibly hard session, our members’ PERS remained intact and our budget was balanced. In the larger political world where attacking workers tends to be expedient and easy, Gov. Brown proved herself to have the courage of her convictions and the ability to keep her word.
While one act of political courage is important and telling for a candidate, it is not something to make an endorsement solely on. However, on issue after issue Gov. Brown separates herself from her opponent.
On PERS, Gov. Brown has a track record of protecting and looking to wisely and responsibly manage the system. Her opponent wants to turn it into a 401k, which will cost members thousands of dollars from their retirements.
On worker issues, the Governor has fought for sick time for all workers, expanded rights to organize unions, a living wage for all Oregonians, and expanded retirement security. Her opponent has opposed all of those.
On revenue, the Governor wants a balanced approach that ensures our economy grows and our state services and government are strong and well-funded. Her opponent wants to cut, cut, and then cut some more.
We know Kate Brown stands with working people and her values don’t waver. We still don’t know what her opponent stands for and frankly, neither does Oregon.
For these reasons and many more, Oregon AFSCME proudly announces its endorsement of Gov. Kate Brown for reelection in 2018. We are on Team Kate and we are going to fight hard to make sure workers have a voice in Salem!