State Primary: May 20, 2014
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“We may get frustrated by the state legislature but at least it’s functioning - the federal legislature is paralyzed,” Sen. Jeff Merkley said Tuesday afternoon during a town hall meeting at Klamath Community College.
Merkley, D-Ore., pledged to continue his vocal fight for filibuster reform in the Senate despite the fact that his efforts fell victim to a compromise deal brokered by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. Klamath Falls Mayor Todd Kellstom introduced him as one with deep Oregon roots who had gained insight into a better-functioning legislature as an intern for former Sen. Mark Hatfield, R-Ore.
Describing the senatorial dysfunction, Merkley said, “One little objection on Monday can waste the entire week, including the weekend. Folks should have to stand up before the American people and their constituents. The silent filibuster is destroying our legislature and the paralysis has infected our nation.” Merkley acknowledged that a first-term senator may not be expected to take on such fights - but structural reforms are a main plank in Merkley’s political platform.
When Ben Sellers of Klamath Falls asked how to address the issue of money in politics, Merkley discussed reversing Citizens United, the controversial Supreme Court decision allowing unlimited financial contributions to political campaigns. Chuck Wells, a spokesman for the Klamath County Democrats, asked the senator how to curb so-called Too Big to Fail banks and related instability in the American and global economies. Merkley again responded by addressing structural issues - of banks able to take unlimited risks that cannot be jailed for their reckless behavior.
“A prosecution-free zone is unacceptable. Lady Liberty has a blindfold,” Merkley said. In the recently released Senate budget, Merkley pushed for an amendment meant to facilitate the criminal prosecution of U.S. financial institutions that break the law, regardless of size. But Merkley also mentioned how such victories don’t always bear fruit in the world of economics; 2.5 years after passing the Volcker Rule, intended to restrict certain speculative bank investments, no rules have been passed - thus preventing it from going into effect. “If there’s no criminal penalty and you just have to pay a fine, it’s not that risky,” Merkley said.
History of Oregon. Information that every Oregon Senator Candidate and candidate for Congress Should Know
Humans have inhabited the area that is now Oregon for at least 15,000 years. In recorded history, mentions of the land date to as early as the 16th century. During the 18th and 19th centuries, European powers – and later the United States – quarreled over possession of the region until 1846 when the U.S. and Great Britain finalized division of the region. Oregon became a state in 1859 and is now home to over 3.8 million residents.
Human habitation of the Pacific Northwest began at least 15,000 years ago, with the oldest evidence of habitation in Oregon found at Fort Rock Cave and the Paisley Caves in Lake County. Archaeologist Luther Cressman dated material from Fort Rock to 13,200 years ago. By 8000 B.C. there were settlements throughout the state, with populations concentrated along the lower Columbia River, in the western valleys, and around coastal estuaries.
By the 16th century, Oregon was home to many Native American groups, including the Coquille (Ko-Kwell), Bannock, Chasta, Chinook, Kalapuya, Klamath, Molalla, Nez Perce, Takelma, and Umpqua
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