Time will judge 2013 session

Peter Buckley

Rep. Peter Buckley

How successful was the 2013 legislative session? Well, my opinion is biased, and I can only judge it by what I know about what we set out to do and accomplish. Time will tell how the choices we made play out.

My major goals for the session were to turn around our investment in education, particularly for K-12, to ensure Southern Oregon University’s vitality in a time of significant change in higher education, to boost local job development, to begin the work needed to stabilize and structure a sustainable Public Employee Retirement System, to procure a state investment in the WISE project (Water for Irrigation, Streams and the Economy, a vital long term water project for the Rogue Valley), and to support the remarkable work Senator Bates is doing on the health care front, including providing access to 220,000 Oregonians currently without coverage, and adding autism treatment for children ages 0 to 8.

All of those issues, of course, were framed by the work necessary to balance the state budget, which is my primary task as co-chair of the budget committee.

The budget is balanced. The goals listed above have been accomplished. Major building projects will be funded at SOU and RCC. We increased investment in our small business development centers, and we’re adding teachers back to the classrooms. There will still be criticism of the session, and there is still work to do going forward.  But again, time will be the judge, and I’m glad to be home.

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