Josephine County Courthouse

Josephine County Courthouse

Dave Blanchard/OPB

In honor of the last 10 years on the air, “Think Out Loud” is looking at some of the biggest issues likely to face Oregon in the next 10 years. For this show, we head to Josephine County to discuss is the tension between state, local and federal control of government.

The preamble to the U.S. Constitution defines a necessity to “establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” Those are broad goals for a government, but what do they actually mean in our daily lives as Oregonians? What services should government provide and at what level? And who should be making those decisions?

These are questions that Oregonians have been asking since the founding of the state and in some ways they are at the root of many of the biggest political issues of our time: from cannabis legalization and logging rights, to policing and public education. We gathered a number of officials and citizens of Josephine County to answer the question: What is the purpose of government?

  • Lois Macmillan, history teacher at South Middle School in Grants Pass

  • John Chambers, former small business entrepreneur

  • Kate Lasky, director of the Josephine County Library District

  • Darin Fowler, mayor of Grants Pass

  • Pete Gendron, president of Oregon SunGrowers Guild

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