Thursday, May 04, 2006

2nd District Interviews: Carol Voisin

[in an effort to provide useful information on the four Democratic candidates running to unseat Rep. Greg Walden (R) in Oregon's 2nd District, Loaded Orygun compiled a brief, five-item questionnaire and sent it to Chuck Butcher, Dan Davis, Scott Silver and Carol Voisin.]

1) Tell us something about yourself and your background, and explain what
prompted you to run for Congress.
I was born and raised in the Midwest. I have a B.S. in social science and two advanced degrees in theology. I have been in local politics all of my life. I believe that “all politics is local”. I’m a member of the League of Women Voters and a Commissioner on the Ashland Housing Commission. Currently I teach at Southern Oregon University, teaching first year students how to write and think critically.

I am running for office because I’m very concerned about our country. We are very vulnerable. Our country is at risk, because of the Bush administration policies and Walden who has voted for those policies. Our vulnerability is -

  • Our national debt – we owe over $9 trillion, over half of that amount is owed to foreign countries
  • Carbon fuels are killing us and our environment
  • Our public schools need to be reformed, they are broken
  • Our health care system is a mess and must be fix it now
  • The war in Iraq needs to end, now

2) Because the general meme in your district is that Walden has served his
constituency well, and assuming you believe that to be false, please
indicate why that is so. Specifically, what are three areas in which Rep.
Walden's involvement or lack of involvement at the Congressional level has
hurt residents of the 2nd District? Follow up on each example by noting how
your approach would have been different.
The assumption that the 2nd congressional district has been served well is not one that I share. This district is in need of good leadership in Congress. Three areas in which Walden has poorly represented the 2nd district are the following:

  • The environment has suffered under Walden’s reign. He supports “salvage logging” that will not ensure the refurbishing of our forests after a catastrophic fire.
  • The environment needs protection and stewardship. We need more research on forest fires before we move in to log what remains. Let’s support peer reviewed research on the subject. Then make policy.
  • Rural health care funding has been slashed by Walden when he voted for the appropriations bill on November 18, 2005. Even though he is sponsoring two bills they will only extend health care funding to 2007. Both these bills are stuck in committees.
  • Rural health care needs a reliable stream of revenue and I would include it under the “O & C” money after rolling back the cuts that have been made to it over the last ten years. That is money promised to rural communities by the federal government in lieu of property taxes that can’t be collected because the land is federal land. It is a century old promise that I intend to keep.
  • The Iraq War and the funding for it have been clearly supported by Walden.
  • Congress holds the purse strings to the war. I would vote against the war and appropriations that support it. Of course, I would vote for all materials that our troops need to be safe and to do their job. But there is much in the appropriations that are not for troops.

3) As you know, Democrats have had a difficult time recently in convincing
2nd District voters that the party can better serve their needs and desires.
Please discuss specific areas where policy or perceived policy makes it
difficult for Democrats to succeed with your constituents, and how your
candidacy represents either a change in policy or an effort to change policy
{no answer supplied}

4) For better or for worse, Rep. Walden's experience and relative seniority
in Congress offers political leverage and influence for 2nd District voters.
What can you offer to replace that experience, creating a net benefit for
Southern and Eastern Oregon?
Walden does have some seniority in Congress. However, he was a freshman congressman at one time. His experience doesn’t seem to have brought better programs or services to District Two. As a first year congresswoman I would have power. I would have the power of 750,000 people in the district that I represent. One vote in Congress can make a difference. There were several votes that had Walden voted for his constituency, he would have made a difference in their lives. My skills of listening, collaborating, building consensus and of managing make me a leader who is ready to “hit the road running”. I would work closely with the other Oregon lawmakers.

5) Campaigning together at several stops was a good way to keep the focus on
Rep. Walden, and prevent the primary race from degenerating into Democrats
tearing down other Democrats. But the voter also needs a way to distinguish
you in order to make an informed choice. After observing your
colleagues/competitors for a while, in what way do you distinguish yourself
from them as the best choice for the 2nd District?
I’m the best choice for three reasons. First, my skills are those that a leader must have – listening, collaborating, building consensus, managing details, thinking critically. I have fine tuned this skills through higher education administration, owning my own business, and teaching first year students. A second reason I am the best choice is that I have a rigorous and aggressive platform that I will take to Washington and act upon – ethics, reforming education and health care, fast tracking energy independence from oil, protecting our environment yet finding ways to develop our natural resources, ending the war. A third reason I am the best choice is that I can beat Walden. I have been endorsed by the three largest papers in Oregon – Oregonian, Mail Tribune, & Bend Bulletin. I have a strategy to beat Walden. Energize the Democratic base; meet with independents and Republicans; challenge farmers, small business owners and social service professionals by presenting them with a choice for change. I will present Walden’s voting record through “speaking truth to power”. Walden in voting consistently with Bush policies has put our country at risk – I would show and demonstrate this to the constituency living in the 2nd district. If anyone feels that they are better off because of the way Walden has voted, I challenge them to prove it. I promise to visit every county at least once a year if elected. I listen and act on what I hear.