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New Role and New Challenges
As you may have heard, the former Democratic co-chair of the House Energy, Environment, and Water Committee, Ben Cannon, was recently appointed to be Governor Kitzhaber's education advisor. While this is a great win for the Governor and for education, it left a big hole in one of our key committees in the legislature. I want you to be among the first to know that Co-Speaker Arnie Roblan has asked me to serve as the new Co-Chair of the House Energy, Environment, and Water Committee, and I have accepted. I begin immediately.
This will not be an easy task. With the economy still recovering and the state budget as tight as ever, sometimes environmental issues can be an afterthought. However, I believe that focusing on clean, advanced energy, responsible use of our natural resources, and support for sustainable urban and rural communities is one of the best ways we can create jobs in Oregon. I look forward to proving that out.
In the short run, I'm committed to pushing for legislation that limits exposure of Oregon's children to toxic chemicals and pollution, to making our transportation fuels a driver for jobs rather than a drain on our economy, and to accelerating the advancements Oregon has made in energy efficiency and renewable energy. In the long run, I look forward to working to make conservation again a key focus for our legislature, as it has been for decades in Oregon under both Republicans and Democrats. I'll need your help to do it, and I look forward to hearing your ideas.
I look forward to working with my committee members, and with Co-Chair Vic Gilliam, to find bipartisan solutions out of the gates. I believe there are many, but I will have big shoes to fill now that Rep. Cannon has moved on. I look forward to the challenge.