Alan DeBoer faces his Alan Bates moment

When Alan DeBoer ran for the Oregon Senate last year, he pledged to continue the legacy of statesmanship of the late Sen. Alan Bates, who passed away unexpectedly last summer.

He now has the opportunity to make good on that pledge.

Dr. Bates consistently stepped up to do what needed to be done for Oregon. He put the needs of Oregonians above politics and even above his own personal preference on how a particular policy should play out.

In two of the most contentious votes of Senator Bates’ career in the Legislature, the PERS reform measures in 2003 and 2013, Bates put the needs of our state first despite overwhelming political pressure from Democratic support groups to vote no. He did not agree with many specific parts of the reform bills, but he knew that for the good of our state, he had to try to make the reforms work.

Alan DeBoer has the same opportunity before him now. There is a revenue proposal being brought forward at the end of the 2017 session that can add hundreds of millions of dollars for education in Oregon, and can help to stabilize Oregon’s budgets for years to come. It also lowers personal income taxes for low and middle-income Oregonians as well.

DeBoer is under overwhelming political pressure from his party and their supporters to vote no. Like Bates, he has stated that the proposal is not what he himself would prefer, but it is the only proposal that is in front of the legislature to vote on.

The proposal has been vetted and is shown to be a net benefit to jobs and the economy in our state, in addition to providing the vitally needed funds for education and budget stability. It also has the support of many business leaders from our high tech industries.

Alan DeBoer is facing his Alan Bates moment, and now has the opportunity to make good on the promise he has made. He has an opportunity to join the principled moderate Republicans in Oregon’s past, Vic Atiyeh and Mark Hatfield, who were able to garner support across party lines by doing what was best for the state they loved.

I urge Senator DeBoer to rise up above the talking points and ideology that now divide us at the national, state and local levels. I urge him to support the revenue bill.

— David Gilmour of Central Point was a Jackson County commissioner from 2002 to 2010.

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