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“Where you see wrong or inequality or injustice, speak out, because this is your country.  This is your democracy.  Make it. Protect it.  Pass it on.” – Thurgood Marshall

I’m certainly not alone in being concerned about our Legislature and the budget.  The session is going to end with many things left on the table and without a budget in all likelihood.  Then we’ll have a Special Session on the budget.  And in the meantime, nonprofit agency heads worry about the people they help with their funding from the state.  They worry about planning for an uncertain future while elected officials try to reach agreement. 

I vote so people who are deeply committed to serving Oregon do just that.  I could feel very negatively about all this and believe me, on my worst days I do feel angry, confused, and sad.  On my best day, I think there must be a way to say to everyone, “You’re not helping.”  People’s lives actually depend on you showing up to do the job you were elected to do.  I don’t live in a district where someone isn’t showing up and I’m grateful for that because then I’d likely just be angry all the time!  I want us to all find a way forward that works whether we agree on all the finer points or not. 

I was thinking about this a lot all weekend and decided to look at the programs United Way funds and how many of them get state funding to serve people in need.  It’s a very short list of who don’t get state funding. It’s literally a handful – 5!  What kinds of services are threatened by not having a state budget in our community?  Services that protect all sorts of vulnerable people – people with disabilities, people fleeing violence, kids getting early childhood service, older folks needing food, people needing substance abuse treatment.  The list is long.  And much more importantly, this is about people – our neighbors, our friends, our community. 

Please vote!  And please feel free to share with me why you don’t.  There’s a place for all of us in serving people in need.  If you haven’t found yours, let me know!  I’ll work to help you do just that!  Onward.