Oregon District 2 Issues

Oregon is an inspiration. Whether you come to it, or are born to it, you become entranced by our state’s beauty, the opportunity she affords, and the independent spirit of her citizens.

Tom McCall

Oregon’s 2nd congressional district is vast and diverse.

Growing up in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan, I always told my mother that one day I would live in the mountains and snowboard them all winter long. In 1992, I made that dream reality when my friends and I made the cross country journey to Bend, Oregon. I was amazed by the diversity Oregon had to offer, from lush forests to rocky mountains to the high desert, Oregon has it all. I knew I found the place where I could spend the rest of my life enjoying and exploring. It’s this passion for the state that fuels my desire to find balance between the needs of its diverse population and the environmental sustainability of the land. By working together, we can find common ground on issues so everyone can prosper and protect the things they cherish.

Sage Grouse Issue

The real issue here is the sprawling growth of post-pioneer, western juniper trees that choke out the sage grouse’s natural habitat and greatly reduce livestock grazing options. We’ve seen that through juniper tree management and sustainable grazing, the sage grouse is making a slow comeback. Due to the efforts of the ranchers to manage the sprawling juniper growth and changing cattle grazing to a 3-day-on and 13-month-off cycle, it could be time to review the 2015 Sage Grouse Initiative and see if we need to hold the ranchers to the springtime exclusion and the 7 inch grass rules.

 

I don’t agree with the recent report put out by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s sage grouse review team, which eliminates “sagebrush focal areas”, puts the focus on sage grouse population targets and opens up areas to mineral leasing and development. This is not the direction we want to go, the focus needs to remain on habitat conservation and management.

Rural Water Well Issue

Ya’ll are using way more water than the land can replenish on its own, it’s unsustainable. The aquifer water levels are reducing every year and people are having to drill deeper and deeper to get what they need. If you’re retired and on a set budget then you’re out of luck if your well runs dry. For me, that’s no way to treat a neighbor. If people won’t regulate themselves and the state continues to drag its heals then it’s time for the Feds to step in and do what needs to be done. We need a Federally funded, comprehensive survey of all 18 aquifers so we know what they can handle, usage wise. It’s time to get serious about water usage in Eastern, Central and Southern Oregon because it’s only going to get worse as the planet temperatures rise.

 

Maybe it’s time to look at farming a new cash crop. A crop that only needs sun, land and transmission lines. I’d like to see about converting farm lands into solar arrays that power multiple states and provide the Federal support to make it happen. It’s time we transform Oregon into a dominant energy producer and create a new, sustainable income for the rural community.

LNG Pipeline Issue

No. No way, no how. We’re done with fossil fuels and anything that has to do with them. I’m all for getting behind the 100% by 2050 initiative and doing my part to get this done. It’s time to keep fossil fuels buried and invest in renewable energy infrastructure and job creation.

Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument Issue

Zinke has spoken and the monument will be shrinking. It’s disappointing that everyone couldn’t sit down and work out a compromise regarding the expansion. Our mission now is to protect what is left and do what we can to insure that the unique biodiversity stays intact.

Forest Fire Issue

Since the 1960’s we’ve put forth efforts to suppress wildfires in our forests in order to reduce the chance of them spreading to nearby developments. By removing a natural occurrence we’ve introduced an unnatural consequence of out-of-control fires fueled by underbrush buildup. What we need to do is increase funding for preventative forest maintenance that will help reduce underbrush buildup through selective harvesting, mechanical mulching and more controlled burns. By removing the fuel we’ll be limiting the impact of run-away forest fires.