By the time you read this, Jeff Golden will have been sworn in as your new senator from District 3. It is my hope that he will do great things and not become absorbed in the system and he will work for all Oregonians, not just the super-majority. As chair of the committee to reform campaigns, he will have the opportunity to rise above party and help fix a very broken system.
Now that I am no longer your senator, the extraordinary ability to make calls on your behalf, and actually have those calls returned from high-level agency officials, will immediately be diminished. I will, however, love getting my first name back. I much prefer to be called Alan rather than constantly referred to as Senator DeBoer.
I will not miss the barrage of calls and emails organized specifically by special interests, sometimes flooding my emails as much as one every second with a canned message. What I will miss is the extraordinary ability to help people and fix problems that government so often ignores. One of the most rewarding experiences of this job was being able to help people that called or emailed my office. In doing this, I was happy to help restore some people’s faith in elected officials and our state government. It truly was an honor to help my fellow Oregonians in this manner. I want to thank all of the agencies and state employees that went out of their way to help citizens of our great state and Senate district.
As the “Greatest Generation” passes away, we welcome the new faces in government and the great challenges that our future generations will confront. The knowledge that my generation (baby boomers) has accumulated needs to be passed down. I don’t think any of us can predict the future, and the June 24, 1974, Time magazine article “Another Ice Age” is one such example. We need to celebrate the successes we have had in improving our planet but also strive for a better future.
The smoke from our fires must be addressed, not by any single cure but through shared ideas.
Education must be a priority, and everyone must work together for student success. I have talked a lot about not having any more school strikes in Oregon. It generated a letter to all Ashland educators from the union to not have teachers talk to me. Recently, “Education Week” had an article titled “should Teachers and Administrators be Friends.” They absolutely should be! The dropout rate for new educators is immense; lets fix it and move the Oregon Education Association to act as a professional guild, not labor vs. management.
Our youth are also struggling with mental health issues in school, including suicide and homelessness. The 15 Coordinated Care Organizations are an integral part of addressing these issues, as well as affordable health care for all. Collaboration is extremely important for our education system and student success. I am hopeful these issues will be addressed in the upcoming session.
Everyone can be an advocate for change and leave a positive imprint on the world. On Oct. 19, my horoscope read, “Look at the big picture and consider where you can do the most good. What you offer others will lead to an opportunity that is worth considering.”
As one chapter ends, I am looking forward to the next one. Thank you all for this experience!
Alan DeBoer of Ashland is the outgoing state senator for District 3. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.