Visiting Oregon’s iconic capital is a necessary part of a commissioners job, although perhaps not my favorite outing. Actually, once you get to Salem it can be almost as addictive as it is for the hundreds of people who camp out in the granite halls for weeks or months on end. There is a sort of fever that surrounds all this activity with legislators and lobbyists buzzing up and down the halls talking breathlessly about whatever issue or issues are on the agenda for the day.
To be honest, I have always thought of the legislative session as something akin to an NBA basketball game – it’s mostly decided in the last few minutes. And then, there are the visitors, like me, who wander in from outside the sphere of influence. I make note of this sphere because for the real players, the world revolves around a ten-mile radius with the capitol in the center while those in the remaining 66,000 square miles or so are left waiting and wondering how their lives might change once the session adjourns.
I remember once gifting my Mom a very nice sweatshirt that she immediately fell in love with. Her first comment was “how in the world could the workers in Bangladesh know what I would like.” Of course, my Mom would have been thrilled with a pencil or an orange. But, as I think about the deliberations going on here in Salem, I’m led to wonder how a group of senators and representatives from the major population centers of this state could know what is important or best for