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A Kurt Schrader Follow-Up
[Posted by David Miller on October 28, 2008
If you listened to today's conversation with Kurt Schrader, the Democratic candidate for Congress in Oregon's 5th District, you probably heard a lot of talk about pork (as in spending, not pigs).
Darlene Hooley, whose retirement from Congress opened up the seat, was pretty good at bringing Federal money for local projects, according to Earmark Watch.
I asked Schrader to define pork, and then Emily asked him about the Oregon Legislature's Emergency Board decision, in 2006, to fund efforts to fight meth- and gang-related crime. As you may have heard, that led to some confusion.
David Steves summarized the situation in December 1, 2006 in Eugene's Register-Guard, writing:
- Initially, the legislative Emergency Board was slated to consider a plan spending $350,000 on such police efforts in east Multnomah County, Marion Country, and Canby -- which are in the districts of House Speaker Karen Minnis, R-Wood Village; Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem; House Majority Leader and budget chief Wayne Scott, R-Canby; and Senate co-chairman of the Joint Ways and Means Committee Kurt Schrader, D-Canby.
- But after the last-minute addition to the E-Board's agenda for Thursday and today surfaced this week, several rank-and-file legislators questioned whether it was a reasonable use of state dollars. Some, such as Sen. Vicki Walker, D-Eugene, said it looked to her like the lawmakers with the most clout over budget decisions were "trying to look for some more pork for their own districts."
The same day, the Associated Press provided its own summary of the situation:
- Stung by accusations of pork barrel politics, legislative leaders decided Thursday to make grants available statewide to combat gangs and methamphetamine.
- An earlier proposal drew flak because it called for allowing only three communities, represented by several of Oregon's most powerful lawmakers, to split $350,000 in grants to help tackle those problems.
- So on Thursday, a revised plan was approved by a Legislative Emergency Board panel to make an additional $1 million in grants available to communities statewide.
Schrader's take, on today's show: "I was in favor of doing gang money across the state, and that was the original proposal. It wasn't just for any one area.... We put money in across the state for these."