The Politics Committee meets to discuss political issues affecting the state. The committee also makes recommendations for endorsements to the Executive Council. The Executive Council makes endorsements on behalf of the full membership of United Academics.
2019 Legislative Session
"Show me the money.”
The billion dollar question is literally a billion dollar question: Will the State of Oregon underfund its public institutions of Higher Education? The answer seems clear: yes.
I wish I had better news than that. This legislative season is packed with bills pertaining to Higher Ed. We’ve got a number of bills in play that are meant to ease the pathway for folks to get to college and university. These bills will streamline the transfer process and establish state-wide foundational curricula. There are bills that might ease the cost of tuition for those that have been historically excluded and continually under-represented from higher ed.
Unfortunately, when it comes to the basic funding that our institution and comrades across the state simply need in order to maintain their current operations, the Governor and our Legislature, despite the Democratic super majority and Governor Brown’s vocal support of Higher Ed, are simply failing to show us any money.
Our hopes are pinned to potential revenue-raising legislation. And if such legislation were to pass, there is no guarantee that money would go to Higher Ed. There are potential bills meant to help ease the burden of PERS costs, and potential legislation for increasing certain grants and scholarships; these are band-aids for a severe wound.
And once again, it’s our students that will suffer the most. This legislative season, please be prepared to devote some time and energy towards getting the word out to our legislators and governors that if the promise of 40 40 20 is actually to be fulfilled in this State, Higher Ed must be affordable for those that most need it to be so. And we cannot continue to let our our ability as faculty members to support students continually be diminished through cuts to faculty and key student access and success programs. Higher Ed needs to be affordable, and it needs to be worth something for our students. And all the good intentions in the world can’t accomplish much under conditions of scarcity.
When we have a better sense which bills actually have a shot of getting through both chambers and to the Governor’s desk, I’ll update y’all. And especially for the esteemed professoriate out there, it’s time to put that institutional capital to work; as legislation comes up that requires expert testimony, I hope we can call on y’all to step up in Salem.
2018 Voting Season
What’s on the Ballot: 5 Important Measures (overview and recommendation)
If you’d like more details on the measures (sponsors, text, and other details), go here.
Measure 102 (Yes)
Measure 102 is a constitutional amendment would make affordable housing bond dollars go farther by allowing local governments to partner with non-profit and private housing providers. It was referred to voters on a bipartisan vote of the Oregon Legislature. Regional Measure 26-199 is a Portland-area regional bond that will make it possible to build new affordable homes, and preserve currently affordable homes for those in need of safe, stable housing.
Measure 103 (No)
Measure 103 amends the Oregon Constitution to prohibit taxes/fees based on transactions for “groceries” enacted or amended after September 2017. While this sounds promising, the measure would set a dangerous precedence on other kinds of taxes that the State could initiate in the future (such as a “corporate” tax). Given the underfunded State resources, including a 20+ Billion dollar unfunded actuary liability for PERS, this measure could severely limit the possibility of additional state resources in the future.
Measure 104 (No)
Measure 104 amends the Oregon Constitution to expand the requirement that three-fifths legislative majority approve bills raising revenue. However, 104 is an unnecessary constitutional amendment. There is already a supermajority requirement for tax increases in Oregon. Making this change would jeopardize funding for education, health care, and other vital services. Expanding this requirement would also make it harder for the legislature to close wasteful tax loopholes that benefit big corporations and special interests.
Measure 105 (No)
Measure 105 repeals current Oregon law limiting use of state/local law enforcement resources to enforce federal immigration laws. Law enforcement officers and agencies in our State are already underfunded, understaffed, and stretched thin. State law enforcement does not have the resources or the mandate to carry out Federal immigration law. To pass such a measure would increase racial profiling, both in its (il)legal form as well as in its de facto existence. This measure could also potentially increase hostility between law enforcement and the people they are meant to serve. As a University that welcomes and values its international community, there is simply no way we can support this measure.
Measure 106 (No)
Measure 106 amends the Oregon Constitution to prohibit spending “public funds” directly or indirectly for “abortion” and reduces abortion access. Clearly, this is a dangerous measure seeking to both unethically govern women’s bodies while at the same time setting up a dangerous precedent whereby the State can pick and choose what kinds of health care public insurance can cover.
Who’s on the ballot: Recommendations from State to Local
Wait, I don’t know who represents me. Who are my reps? Find your Oregon representatives and districts here.
Governor: Kate Brown (D)
Governor Brown has continually championed issues of labor and education for the State, and was crucial to the effort to establish the United Academics faculty union at OSU. We here at UAUO will continually press Governor Brown on issues that relate directly to our University, such as our Board of Trustees, state funding, and UO Foundation transparency. We believe Governor Brown will be the best candidate to push through these issues most important to us here at the UO.
Don’t see your district below? Click here for a complete list of endorsements.
Oregon State Senators
Floyd Prozanski - SD 4 – South Lane, North Douglas
Lee Beyer – SD 6 – Springfield
James Manning, Jr. - SD 7 – Eugene, Junction City
Sara Gelser – SD 8 – Corvallis, Albany
Deb Patterson - SD 10 - South Salem
Peter Courtney - SD 11 – Salem
Oregon House of Representatives
Christy Inskip - HD 7 - Lane & Douglas County
Paul Holvey – HD 8 - Eugene
Marty Wilde – HD 11 – Eugene
John Lively - HD 12 - Springfield
Nancy Nathanson – HD 13 - Eugene
Julie Fahey - HD 14 - W Eugene, Junction City
Rachel Prusak - HD 37 - West Linn
History buffs can read up on our past endorsements.
In many cases, United Academics does not make a direct endorsement of a candidate for office. Instead, we created a survey that candidates can fill out to tell us how they view the issues that impact our membership.
You can read completed candidate surveys here.
Candidates for office can fill out the survey here. United Academics reserves the right to not post all the responses we receive.
Political Action Fund
United Academics works with our affiliate, AFT-Oregon, to handle political donations our members want to make. AFT-Oregon is a member-run union and the candidates and causes they support are selected by elected committee members.
What is the Political Action Fund?
AFT-Oregon’s Political Action Fund (PAF) is part of the political action arm of AFT-Oregon. It builds our union’s power and makes sure we have a strong voice to advocate for educators and educational professionals, and our communities.
PAF makes politics work for educators and working families by:
- Funding member outreach to lawmakers to educate them on important issues that affect our union and communities
- Helping to elect and re-elect lawmakers who support us
- Mobilizing and empowering members to build a strong voice for workers and education in Oregon
- Organizing community actions with allies to demand full funding for schools, community colleges, and universities, and fighting back against public policy that harms working Oregonians
- Passing pro-worker and pro-education legislation to protect our jobs and raise workplace standards
- Fighting anti-union legislation and ballot measures
Why Political Action?
As workers and educators, AFT-Oregon members fight for fair wages and benefits, respect on the job, and an education system that lifts up our whole community. Education policy and funding is decided by our legislators and on the ballot. This directly impacts what we can get at the bargaining table and the quality of our students’ education.
Anti-worker and anti-public education corporate forces have deep pockets to push their agendas on working Oregonians. If everyone steps up and contributes what they can, together we have the power to ensure a voice at the table.
How it works:
- PAF is entirely funded by voluntary contributions and is guided by a member-based, democratic process.
- In Oregon, you can receive a tax credit up to $50 for a single filer and $100 for a joint filer on your Oregon State Taxes.
If you are interested in contributing to the Political Action Fund, contact the office so we can get you a PAF card.