The Difference Between Talking and Doing: While Sorenson and Hill Point Fingers and Offer Vague Proposals, Governor Touts Success During Difficult Times, Maps Out Plan for the Future

For Immediate Release, April 6, 2006
Contact: Lisa Grove, 503-957-8550

Tualatin -- Ted Kulongoski met the challenge by Hill and Sorenson at a Democratic Primary debate tonight, making a strong case for his re-election by outlining his leadership through some of the state’s toughest years, reminding the audience what it means to be a good Democrat, and laying out a roadmap for the future.

Staying above the fray, Governor Kulongoski refused to join in his primary opponents’ grandstanding and misleading attacks. Instead, he explained the roots of his Democratic values, offered a clear vision of what he will achieve next term, and explained why creating opportunity is so important to him.

His humble beginnings in a boy’s home, getting to college on the GI bill and working as a truck driver and brick layer are what made him the Democrat he is today. “Making sure that every person has the opportunity to create a better life for themselves and their families. To me, it’s not an abstract concept; I’m living proof that if people have opportunity, there are not limits on how far they can go,” said the Governor.

Recounting the state’s crises when he took office – highest unemployment and hunger rates in the country, a debilitating meth abuse problem, and a $3 billion state deficit -– the Governor linked the strides Oregon has made to one thing: the restoration of our economy.

“If we were gong to have enough money to fund our schools, make health care more affordable, to hire enough police officers and firefighters, the first thing we had to do was to make sure people had jobs,” he explained. “It’s not my nature to boast or to claim credit. But I’m proud of how much progress we’ve made.”

The Governor also made it clear that being a good Democrat means standing up the Bush Administration, corporate special interests, and right-wing extremists. He issued a stern reminder to Hill and Sorenson that, “Some people get so caught up in their rhetoric that they forget who the real opponents are.”

Kulongoski refused to let Sorenson and Hill blame him for the challenges he inherited when taking office. “We’ve got the governor successfully navigating the state through turbulent waters and two guys complaining to the captain about being sea sick,” said campaign spokesperson Lisa Grove.

The Governor acknowledged that there is still more work to be done, saying, “What I’ve done in the past has put us in the position to do more in the future.” He offered three specific proposals and referenced a number of others through the course of the debate:

  • To increase our independence from both the instability of foreign oil and the excesses of oil company profiteering, by making Oregon the nation’s leader in renewable energy development;
  • To make health coverage available to every child in the state, and health care more affordable for every person in the state; and
  • To develop and fully fund an education system that guarantees that every child in Oregon has the same opportunity I had.

Refusing to let Sorenson and Hill be Monday morning quarterbacks, Kulongoski closed the debate with these remarks:

You’ve heard a lot of finger pointing and name calling from Jim and Pete tonight. What you didn’t hear was any specifics on what they would have done differently. You didn’t hear any ideas on how they would have dealt with a three billion dollar deficit or how they would have responded when the Bush Administration cut funding for health care.

Maybe they would have done the same thing they did here tonight – talk. But that wouldn’t have created one new job or hired one new teacher. It wouldn’t have built a new road or shut down a meth lab. And that’s really the biggest difference between us. It’s the difference between talking and doing.

Kulongoski said he looks forward to continuing the conversation with Hill, Sorenson, and voters at Monday night’s debate.


Posted on April 6, 2006