Reason for Seeking Public Office:
Four years ago Oregon was a polarized state with an uncertain future. Standing in the depths of the Great Recession, our legislature was divided, faced with high unemployment and a budget deficit of $3.5 billion.
Four years ago I asked my fellow Oregonians for the privilege to serve as their governor because there was much work to be done and because I thought I could help:
Restore civility to our public debate and rebuilding the kind of operational political center that has led to Oregon's greatest achievements in the past.
Create a foundation to support a dynamic, sustainable economy that creates good jobs.
Establish a continuum of high quality education from early childhood through postsecondary education and training.
Overhaul our health care system to deliver better health outcomes at a lower cost.
Move to long-term budgeting that allows us to reinvest in the future.
Four years ago I asked you to think of Oregon as a house built decades ago and to think of Oregonians as a family who has lived in that house for generations. And over time the family and its needs and the way it lives have changed but the structure of the house has not.
There are too many rooms and they are not the right size. There is no insulation and the windows are drafty. And the cost of keeping this house up is more than the family can afford. The roof needs to be replaced and the siding is falling off. And at some point, simply patching things up is not good enough. The point comes when you have to build a new house that's affordable and that is designed for what the family needs and the way the family lives.
For better or for worse, the Great Recession leveled the House of Oregon to its foundations and gave us the opportunity to rebuild it for the 21st century. And that is exactly what we did:
We have helped accelerate the recovery in the manufacturing sector by securing an adequate inventory of large industrial sites, streamlining our regulatory process and establishing Regional Solutions Centers across Oregon to focus on local economic development priorities.
We made progress toward increased water for irrigated agriculture in Eastern Oregon, scaled up our Eastside forest health collaboratives and continue to be engaged in finding a solution to the O&C land issue. We secured the Oregon expansion of Intel, Nike and Daimler trucks; increased our investment in the Oregon Innovation Council and in our signature research centers; significantly expanded our film and video sector; and provided tax relief to small and family-owned businesses.
We are transforming our health care system with 95 percent of our Medicaid population now enrolled in new Coordinated Care Organizations, which are shifting the focus from after the fact acute care to prevention, wellness and community-based management of chronic conditions. By next year more than 100,000 additional Oregonians will have coverage through these CCOs, which are improving health outcomes while reducing per capita medical inflation by two percentage points -- saving the state hundreds of millions of dollars.
We have also made significant strides in transforming our system of public education -- creating a seamless outcomes-based P-20 system of public education, which, for the first time, is aligning policy, funding and governance across the entire continuum from early learning to PSE and training. We have redesigned our early learning delivery system based on performance contracts to ensure that all children are ready to learn when they reach kindergarten. We have implemented a kindergarten readiness assessment and made targeted investments in key leverage points, which will yield the greatest return in terms of student success.
As important as these accomplishments are -- the way we accomplished them is equally as important. While partisanship and ideology have paralyzed our nation's capital here in Oregon over the past three years, we have shown time and again that it is still possible to create and hold an operational political center; we refused to allow partisanship to get in the way of doing the right thing for Oregonians -- even when it required people to stretch beyond ideology and beyond what conventional wisdom said could be done.
We've made good and remarkable progress. But change is always fragile in its beginnings. It requires persistence to ensure that the roots can establish themselves and can continue to grow to bear fruit tomorrow. We have rebuilt the foundation and started to frame in the House of Oregon but there remains much work to do for it to fully accommodate all of our people.
That is why today I am asking my fellow Oregonians to allow me to serve one final term as your governor. I have an agenda for the next four years that is at least as ambitious as the last.
We have put in place most of the policies and structures we need to achieve our 40-40-20 educational goals -- now what is required is adequate funding and consistent implementation over the next several biennia.
We must continue to implement our health care reforms and extend them to the private market, improving health outcomes while saving millions of dollars not only for state and local government but also for private sector employers across the state. On our current course we could get more than 90% of Oregonians covered by quality health insurance by the end of 2016.
We must redouble our efforts to meet our carbon and greenhouse gas reduction goals while accelerating the transition to a sustainable clean economy that creates living-wage jobs while reducing our carbon footprint and replenishing and restoring our natural resources.
Finally, while we should be proud of the nearly 100,000 jobs we have created, most of those jobs are at the top and the bottom of the economic ladder, leaving out the kinds of middle-income jobs so critical to creating prosperity and long term economic stability. So our great challenge is to ensure that the next phase of Oregon's economic recovery reaches all Oregonians and ends the income stagnation that continues to erode the middle class, exacerbates inequality and the opportunity gap, and for the first time threatens a generation of Oregonians with the prospect of a declining standard of living.
That forms the outline, but of course there is more. I want to use this campaign as an opportunity to get into the details and engage Oregonians from every part of the state in the discussion -- and the shared work ahead.
I asked the Earl Boyles School to allow me to kick off this campaign here because it represents the fundamental reason I am running, and the organizing principle of what we should be focused on as a state and as a state government: the future.
The future as represented by the innovative way this school connects early childhood with ongoing education and the ability to grow, succeed and prosper.
The future as represented by the way it breaks down barriers between services to focus on needs and outcomes, not traditional bureaucratic silos.
The future in which we recognize that what we must accomplish as a state is not the government's job, or the private sector's job or the non-profit sector's job -- it is our shared responsibility as Oregonians.
But most of all, the future as represented by these children, who look to us to care for them, to prepare them, to keep them and their families safe and healthy, and to leave them an Oregon worthy of their hopes and dreams, and better than we found it.