WALKOUT BY DEMOS GOOD FOR DEMOCRACY

July 02, 2001 11:00 pm

Walkout by Demos

good for democracy

Thank God the Oregon Legislature isnt one big happy family, as many throughout the state would want us to believe.

The June 23 decision by House Democrats to walk out of the session over a move by Republicans to try to get their redistricting plan around the governors desk should be applauded.

Why? Because we dont need a Legislature that marches lock step with the governor to get bills passed. Yes, Oregon has become a state where too many are proud of being independents or moderates.

For those who have stronger beliefs and are ready to align themselves with either Democrats or Republicans, we shout hallelujah!

Both our state and federal governments were founded over heated debate and having strong feelings about issues.

No, we arent advocating taking up arms and dividing Oregon, the way the country was divided during the Civil War.

But we do advocate Legislators using the means necessary at times to make their point.

The Republican-controlled House did just that when its members decided to create a resolution to try and accomplish the redistricting job that must be done every 10 years.

Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber had duly warned the Republican leadership that he would veto any redistricting bill that didnt have support and input from the House Democrats.

Everyone knows that more often than not, the redistricting plan submitted by the party in control doesnt get past the governors veto unless they also have control of the executive branch.

The Republicans knew that Kitzhaber was going to veto their plan and it would be up to Secretary of State Bill Bradbury, a Democrat, to decide how the state would be redistricted.

Both sides played their cards, with the result that the House lacked the quorum necessary to operate. The end result was that the Republicans plan became stalemated.

IT MIGHT BE TIME to establish a bipartisan commission that could carry out the redistricting process every 10 years. The commission could be made up of equal numbers of Republicans, Democrats, independents. That way we dont have to deal with this partisan problem.

Or we could keep it the way it is and expect some fireworks every 10 years.

For those of us who like some partisan rancor over too civil a Legislature, then let democracy work the way it has since our founding.