Lawn signs have been picked up or blown away. The radio ads have stopped. And mailboxes are filling with holiday catalogs instead of candidate brochures. Everyone is glad the election is over. On a personal note, I am relieved to no longer see my face in trash-bins at the Post Office.
For me, the real work starts now. I will be representing an area stretching from Waldport to Tillamook and inland to Sheridan. It is a large district blessed with natural beauty and wonderful people. I am proud to have been elected, humbled by your trust, and ready for the responsibility. I am more grateful than I can say.
Those Portland representatives with a district they can see from their own doorstep have no idea. I now represent eight cities, portions of four counties, two tribes, a Federal penitentiary and 100 miles of beach. We are a diverse collection of communities and not everyone here will always agree with me. I respect those with opposing views and will actively seek out common ground wherever I can find it. I believe that working together, we can make things better.
Oregonians are tired of politicians who see everything through a partisan filter. We all know that no person, group, or political party has a monopoly on the truth. Oregonians have a right to expect their elected officials to work together, even when they disagree, to achieve meaningful results. And twenty-five years of marriage has taught me that compromising isn’t losing…
The new legislative session will convene in January. My priorities as a legislator are the same as those I talked about as a candidate: education, job creation, and health care. These are broad issues but there are finite and specific programs which can help address each.
· We have struggled to fund K-12 education. Our kids and grand-kids deserve the best education we can provide! And we can do better to support community colleges where funding has been on the decline. I intend to be an advocate for rural community colleges, two of which are in this district.
· In a tourist based and production economy, transportation is critical. We need to focus on the highway and rail systems that bring customers to the coast, and transport fish, timber, and dairy products to market.
· I want to be a champion of small businesses. I understand that small businesses create most new jobs in this region. And I also understand how small business can be burdened by a plethora of special taxes, fees, and regulations. (Our company was named Business of the Year in Lincoln City for 2012.)
· The availability, affordability and quality of health care are particularly important outside Oregon’s metropolitan population centers. Here on the Coast, even people with health insurance often can’t afford to use it because of high deductibles. And we need to focus on helping keep seniors safe, healthy, and secure in their own homes.
· There is a delicate balance here between preserving our magnificent environment, and creating or maintaining jobs. Coastal legislators have taken a lead in working to protect our forests, oceans, parks, and waters, and also our people and our local industries.
I’m a small business guy in a small business district. By that I mean that most people here either work for or retired from smaller businesses in tourism, farming, fishing, dairy, forestry or health care. The decisions I make will each be tempered by my small business experience. How will businesses and employees of businesses like mine be affected? How will communities like mine be affected? How will families like mine be affected??
Here on the Coast, we face big issues. But we also need to be aware of small ones. Regulations affecting beach use or fireworks; rules designed for large businesses that burden smaller ones; power outages and communication black-outs; beach clean-up. A legislator from the Coast needs to stay on top of small issues so they don’t become big problems.
For the past six years, the Central Coast has been well represented by Jean Cowan. We owe her a debt of gratitude for her lifetime of service and good work. I’ll have to work hard to earn the respect and the effectives she has exercised on our behalf.
I also want to thank my former opponent, Jerome Grant. In a year characterized by negativity and attack politics, we never once exchanged a disparaging word. I shared my ideas; he shared his. And then the voters made their decisions.
In the next few days, I’ll be assigned to committees, get an office, finalize staff, and complete local and Salem phone numbers. Angie Allbee will be working as my Chief-of-Staff and district liaison. I welcome visits in the Capitol and comments on legislation or issues.
Thank you so much for the honor of representing you.
Representative-Elect David GombergShare on Facebook