The Bulletin Oregon’s lawmakers will have more than enough to keep them busy next year. They must balance the state’s budget and work to relieve government of the terrible and growing burden imposed by the state’s public employees retirement plan. And, topping this region’s list of critical issues is the bonding authority necessary to allow OSU-Cascades to expand to a four-year college.
Tim Knopp, the Republican candidate for state Senate District 27, has hands-on experience with all those problems. His opponent, Geri Hauser, does not.
Knopp was the state representative who crafted much of the last serious round of Public Employees Retirement System reforms back in 2003. Some of what was approved then was later overturned by the courts, but his knowledge of the system will be invaluable next year. Moreover, he has concrete suggestions for reform that will, he believes, pass judicial muster.
Hauser has neither.
Knopp also knows the challenge that comes with balancing the state’s budget during tough economic times. The 2003 PERS reforms were prompted in part by a sluggish economy, and balancing the state’s budget in the 2001-03 biennium required five special sessions. It also required across-the-aisle cooperation, of which Knopp was a part.
Hauser has never worked on a state budget.
Finally, Knopp was an early and forceful advocate for what became the OSU-Cascades branch campus, joining the late Ben Westlund’s effort to assure that economic uncertainty did not bring an end to what was, at the time, an experiment in something new. Between them, they bought the campus time to establish itself as a vital part of Oregon higher education.
Hauser supports the campus, though she has no experience in getting the finances it needs to thrive.
Knopp is the only candidate in the Senate District 27 race with the experience to accomplish what must be accomplished next year. That’s a sound reason to send him to Salem.