Senator Gelser, the friend.

The political climate these days is simply awful. It seems people are on one side or another – there are no moderates. I’m exaggerating a little. But I was pretty involved in the 2015 Oregon legislative session, and there wasn’t a lot of compromise.

Compromise jpeg

Seems we don’t use this much, hence the definition. A little sarcasm.

I spent a lot of time at the state capitol this last legislative session with organizations fighting for and against many issues. I also spent time advocating for business with the Governmental Affairs Committee through the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce. Through this time, I worked often with both my representation from my district: Representative Andy Olson and Senator Sara Gelser.

Disclaimer: I did not vote for Sara Gelser, nor do I agree with a lot of her voting record. But I do respect her as a person and her ability to communicate and for many items that she has passionately and tirelessly worked for. In reading through the below, I think you’ll like what she has to say.

The Albany Chamber asked if we (Boshart Trucking) would sponsor the Women In Business luncheon today, September 9th, with guest speaker Senator Sara Gelser. We said we would. The women from our company and farm, as well as a few female farming friends all attended; along with about 90 other “women in business” from the Albany area. What we heard was refreshing, and made me appreciate the work our legislators do even more. I’d like to share a few quotes, thoughts, and ideas from her talk today.

September 9, 2015, Women In Business, Guest Speaker: Dist. 8 Senator Sara Gelser. “Show Up, Work Hard, and Laugh Often.”

TEAMWORK

“It’s always a team effort – no matter what you’re doing.” Here she is talking about her father’s businesses and the fact that his employee’s tended to follow him wherever he went. She also likened this to getting things done in the legislature. When she is part of sponsoring a bill, or helping write one, she talked about going to the person or group that will oppose it the most to get input. More often than not, it becomes a team effort.

COMPASSION

“I’m interested in the people the people don’t talk about.” Here’s where my respect grows immensely for Senator Gelser. She diligently fights for special needs, for mental health, for abused youth, and for those that can’t speak for themselves. I appreciate people like her… while I tend to immediately think on the business side of things and how in the world do you pay for these kind of social services, this reminds me that compassion is needed sometimes more than I think. In most situations, it takes all kinds – both me and her. And this shows that.

LEADERSHIP

“Leadership Lesson: Whether a business, a soccer game or an election – how you lose is more important than how you win.” Aw ya, she’s speaking my language. I’m a coach, and this is SO very important and isn’t taught as much as I wish it were. There are more lessons in losing than in winning. In Senator Gelser’s case, she was speaking on when she lost her first election and the discussion she had with her kids was how to lose, not just how to win. What a lesson!

“Leadership Lesson: In leadership as in life, you can’t be who you’re not. If you’re going to lead, you have to be interested and have a vision with what you are passionate about. Lead from a place of knowledge.” Yes, such powerful words.

COMMON GROUND

“We’re all people – we’re not going to agree on everything. It’s most important to show up. You might just find out where you’re wrong.” Many times did Senator Gelser and I not agree on issues being debated in the legislature over the course of the last many months. But she showed up to meetings to talk about and explain what was happening at the state capitol. I continued to email her information on everything from increased fuel costs of our business (LCFS), to information about the ports and how that was hurting our export market, to how some of the anti-business legislation would hurt our farm and small business. And she returned every phone call and email. To me, that’s impressive. “The best way to make an angry constituent even angrier is to not return a phone call or email,” says Gelser.

“You have to be willing to talk to those you don’t agree with. The more you can focus on building relationships, the more you can find COMMON GROUND.” In today’s world, this is so hard and we simply don’t see it – from Washington DC to Oregon and everywhere in between.

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So back to my title: Senator Gelser, the friend. We don’t see eye-to-eye on most issues. But after showing up today to listen to what she had to say, I feel we might just agree on more than I thought previously. We are both huge advocates of working hard and I truly see that in what she does. And, I did laugh often during her chat with us today. So, thank you Senator Gelser and I look forward to working with you in the future.

LCFS, SB324, Low Carbon Fuel Standard – call it whatever you want, I call it BS.

The Oregonian just last week came out with an editorial slamming the decision making of almost all Democrat’s in the legislature for passing what the Oregonian Editorial Board is calling the 2016 legislature’s WORST bill: SB 324. AKA LCFS, AKA Low Carbon Fuel Standard. Read the editorial here.

Just for fun (sarcasm), I pulled up a little personal history of this bill, and in case you weren’t following along in February and March, and want to know how such a terrible decision was made, here you go…

Deep in the midst of the West Coast Port Crisis, this came up in February.

LCFS 1

A little stinky, don’t you think?

On February 24th, a Public Hearing was held in the House Energy and Environment Committee. There were so many people testifying in opposition to this, that they had an overflow Public Hearing on February 26th. I, along with many others, was at the Capitol until 7pm on the 24th waiting my turn, and since I was only 30 miles from the Capitol, I came back on the 26th in order to testify. You can read my testimony here. You can also read the testimony from many others – including Farm Bureau members, multiple Chambers of Commerce, family farmers, trucking companies, Oregon Transportation Association, the dairy industry, the construction industry and more. Concerned citizens came from near and far to try and talk sense into deaf ears.

Public Hearing at State Capitol on February 24, 2015

Public Hearing at State Capitol on February 24, 2015

So many concerned people tried their best to fight it! Friends, concerned citizens and legislators alike did their best to get the general public aware of this bad bill. Twitter, Facebook, articles, blogs… These are just a few I grabbed.

LCFS 5

LCFS 2

LCFS 3

LCFS 4

LCFS 6

After a 5 1/2 hour debate on the House floor on March 4th, the Republican party tried every single idea and speech and opinion out there to try and sway the Dems. It didn’t work and ultimately passed. What a colossal waste of time for all involved and for what? This will do absolutely nothing except support a faction of the “Green” industry that the left-side supports. If you are wondering where your legislator voted, here you go: The Senate vote was party lines EXCEPT Betsy Johnson seeing the light. The House vote was close: 31-29. It was a party line vote, except the following Democrats: Jeff Barker (D-Aloha), Deborah Boone (D-Cannon Beach), Caddy McKeown (D-Coos Bay), and Brad Witt (D-Clatskanie).

Unfortunately we ALL now suffer for 2 reasons: 1) We don’t have a transportation package because the Republicans refuse to move forward on one knowing what the LDFS did (and the Dems need at least 1 Republican… sidenote – it should make you think a lot if you can’t even get ONE Republican to agree with you…) and 2) our fuel prices are going to raise for absolutely no reason other than support for “clean fuels”. And according to this article, the “supporters of the state’s low-carbon fuel standard acknowledge Oregon might never meet its goal of reducing carbon emissions by 10 percent.” SMH. (And for those of you that aren’t teenage parents, that’s text-talk for Shaking My Head).

Summary: our fuel prices will go up for no reason.

Unfortunately, Governor Kate Brown signed the bill into law on March 12th, 2015.

So where are we now? Governor Kate Brown seemingly has “seen the light” and is in talks with leadership from both sides. Per the Oregonian Editorial Board: “Assuming the minority party is willing to wheel and deal, it should insist upon a couple of things: If Democrats want to subsidize low-carbon fuels, they should do so transparently and without using motor fuels as the vehicle. The low-carbon fuel standard is nothing more than a scheme for shifting money from those who buy gasoline and diesel fuel to those who produce low-carbon fuels. It’s politically useful, if somewhat dishonest, because it allows policymakers to pretend they’re not doing what they are, in effect, doing: levying a tax and using it to subsidize a favored industry. If policymakers want to pump public dollars into low-carbon fuels, they ought to do so explicitly – and prepare to explain to their constituents why the money is better spent on electric charging stations than, say, schools or state troopers.”

So, there’s a little “then and now.” It certainly makes you wonder what the future holds when it comes to this bad bill turned law. If it smelled bad when it started, then it’s a steaming pile of BS now.