May 28, 2015
As a newcomer to the area, though I grew up here, I have become concerned the Oregon Legislature has been pushing the Portland agenda on the rest of the state.
While Portland has largely recovered from the recession, there is still poverty in Oregon, it just isn’t easily seen from urban areas.  Sheridan, for example, has many empty buildings and distress in the community is highly visible.  Too often our rural communities have become ghost towns, and I worry that success stories like Carlton are becoming the exception rather than the rule.  In fact, I recently visited Newport and, despite the contract it won from NOAA, the town is a shell of its former self.
Portland is using its Democratic majority in this state to its advantage, to the detriment of other Oregonians.  Take the minimum wage hike, for example.  It’s much easier to justify raising the minimum wage in urban areas.  The cost of living is higher and companies are bigger, thus they more readily absorb the cost.  Rural companies tend to be smaller, however, and I know that many will not be able to absorb a significant wage hike.  Their margins just aren’t large enough.  Ultimately bills like this getting pushed through the Oregon legislature could lead to a loss of jobs, especially in rural areas.  This is something that representatives in rural communities should be unilaterally opposed to.
However, there are Democrat representatives of rural areas, and they vote along party lines, directly contrary to the interests of their constituents.  Make no mistake, I’m not arguing that everyone should be Republican in rural Oregon.  I believe diversity of opinion is the heart of any legitimate democratic system.  Nonetheless, it makes me wonder about Portland’s outsized influence on our representatives when they vote against their own best interest.
JW Millegan, Owner
JW Millegan Investment Banking and Brokerage