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Sunday, 1 August 2021

Incumbent Jeff Merkley runs for re-election to the U.S. Senate

Credit: KDRV
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Incumbent Jeff Merkley runs for re-election to the U.S. Senate
Incumbent Jeff Merkley runs for re-election to the U.S. Senate

Sen.

Jeff Merkley first took office in 2009, and the Democrat is running for another term in Congress against Republican Jo Rae Perkins.

Potentially aore potent stormthd rain and higher elevation snow to our region along with much cooler weather.

It's your voice, your vote, the selection, oregon, us senator jeff merkley is looking to hold onto his seat.

He's taken a republican candidate, joe ray perkins.

Joining us now is senator merkley.

Thanks for being with us.

It's so good to be with you.

So obviously you've got a lot of challenges ahead.

Uh, i guess specifically, we'll start with, what will your priorities be for the voters of southern oregon?

If you get to retain your seat?

Well right now, it's really the same priorities for all of oregon.

And the nation is to have a major bill taken on the healthcare issues associated with the pandemic and the economic issues that are affecting so many families in southern oregon and across our country.

We've got to rebuild this economy from the ground up, not from wall street down.

How would you specifically address some of those issues as it relates to increasing employment in southern oregon?

Well, one of them is really to make sure the small businesses, uh, have the ability to stay open or reopen because right now, across the country and in southern oregon, lots of small businesses are just barely holding on and they need these type of help that we had in the ppp act to enable them to.

Keep their team around reopen when the economy improves and the second, those who are unemployed, we need to get that extra.

The benefit to them that we had before the $600 per week, extra benefit, because that way they can pay their bills, they can pay their grocery bill.

They can pay their rent, they can pay their mortgage.

They can proceed to get healthcare when they need it.

And that that's where you rebuild from the, from the bottom up, enabling ordinary families to get through this, as we get through it together.

Obviously, those are great goals, but you've run into some resistance on the other side of the aisle, as it relates to getting that done before the election.

Do you see that changing dramatically?

If the balance in the senate does not change after november 2nd, november elections.

Well, what we heard from president trump is he said, there's going to be a really big package that he'll support right after the election.

I really don't know why he, he hasn't supported such a package before the election.

It's now been five months since the house passed the heroes act.

And the senate said, you know what?

We're just not going to invest in families across this country.

We're not going to invest in protecting against the, the eviction or utility cutoff or helping them small businesses.

Again, i don't get it.

Cause i think it would have been good policy and good politics for the president and the republican majority in the senate to back up the house plan, but they refuse to do so.

And if there is a change in the senate, the senate democrats will get the job done.

Well, i guess that would be leading into my next question.

Assuming the senate does flip, uh, what would your priorities be then and how would they change?

Absolutely.

I think about this, like a ball game and getting to first base is the issue of november 3rd and having a blue senate blue house blew boss.

In other words, a pro we, the people government instead of government by and for the powerful, then you go to second base.

That's unrigging the senate, the republican priorities right now require just 51 votes or 15, a vice president.

The democratic priorities required 60 that's fundamentally absolutely wrong.

That clears the path to restore election integrity.

And that means we take on gerrymandering voter suppression in dark money.

I'll be leading that effort.

In the senate.

And then the path is clear for rushing to home plate.

And that's a healthcare housing, education, living, wage jobs, infrastructure, passing the dream act, passing the equality act and taking on climate chaos.

So those issues of reinvesting in the american family, so families can thrive.

They've been getting the short end of the stick.

Now for three plus decades, we've got to change that.

What would be, if you looked at that priority list that you just laid out, what's the top of the list?

Give us an idea of what would be the rundown of how you would attract attack all of those issues.

Sure.

The very top of the list is both the pandemic and the economic implosion associated with that.

We've got to get america standing back on its feet, and then we move more deeply into the issue of housing and jobs, uh, because we have a huge housing crisis in oregon.

Right.

We've got people living in tents on the street.

Uh, people can't afford their rents and mortgages.

And in terms of jobs, that is, that is the key because there's nothing better for a family and there's no government program that compares to a good paying job.

Also, speaking of inside the senate, we've talked about, and you've been very vocal about the situation concerning the supreme court.

There is some concern on the republican side about a move on the democratic side to increase the number of justices on the court.

Vice-president biden has laid out what he thought was a plan, fairly lengthy plan.

Before he would come up with the decision.

Do you support a vice-president biden's plan?

And do you think something should be done in the interim?

I think a commission makes sense.

Here's the challenge.

It was four years ago.

The marine president colleagues said there should never be a vote on a nominee during an election year, not even a debate.

And so they refuse to entertain a debate or vote on president obama's nominees.

The first time in us history that happened always, uh, nominee was debated on and voted on.

So they stole the supreme court seat.

At that point when they were ready to fill that under president trump, i did a 15 and a half hour speech, one of the 10 longest in american history to say, don't do it because there's no easy way to repair the integrity of the court.

If you damage it by stealing a supreme court seat, that's where we are now.

And, uh, so it is a, it's really problematic because the republicans are trying to turn the court into a super majority for the privileged and powerful and they've succeeded.

So how do we rectify that?

It's a very difficult challenge.

So a commission is as good a way as any to get all the ideas out on the table.

Us senator jeff merkley, running for reelection.

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