BEND, OR -- State Senators Tim Knopp (R-Bend) and Cliff Bentz (R-Ontario) joined Representatives Mike McLane (R-Powell Butte) and Gene Whisnant (R-Sunriver) to discuss last month's legislative session at a Bend forum, Tuesday evening.
Affordable Housing was a hot topic and Senator Knopp talked about how some proposals, like rent control, would actually hurt chances to create more housing, especially in areas like Central Oregon, "Our real job for our next session, is to make sure that money is spent wisely, because in the past, our area has been a donor party to others, and we would like to actually receive equitable dollars back to the region."
Retiring Representative Whisnant said he's worked in sessions when he's been the minority and when he's been in the minority; but, he feels government works best when everyone works together. "It was not fun being part of the Super Minority. They had to have us there for quorum. But, other than that, they could pass policy bills and tax bills, and we should have more compromise."
Senator Cliff Bentz, who was appointed this year to fill Ted Ferrioli's seat, says when he moved from the House to Senate, took his cosponsorship of the 2017 Transportation Bill with him. "That transportation package took enormous amounts of work and it's going to change this area dramatically. The road - 97 - and Bend and Redmond, in particular, will be the staging area when we have the cataclysmic event over on the coast. This will be the space from which we - you - bail out the Willamette Valley, so having your roads work is terrifically important."
House Republican Leader Mike McLane felt the short session was productive in creating an opportunity for Oregon's young people, "My most important bill was a grant to give National Guard members tuition credit to state colleges and community colleges. It's to address the decline in enrollment that we have in our National Guard."
Tuesday's event was part of the Bend Chamber's "What's Brewing?" series.