NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018

Landslide victory for Measure 101: Oregon voters protect state’s Medicaid funding

A right wing assault on healthcare funding in the Pacific Northwest fittingly ended in failure tonight with the conclusion of Oregon’s January 23rd special election, in which voters were asked to decide whether new revenue needed to secure Medicaid matching funds should be retained or repealed. The initial results for Measure 101 — which are quite conclusive — showed that Beaver State voters have overwhelmingly chosen to protect Medicaid funding.

That’s great news for our region.

With turnout so far of 32.71%, the Yes side has about three-fifths of the vote, or 60.78% (521,482 votes), while the No side has 39.22% (336,465 votes).

The Yes side dominated in the northwest quarter of the state — where most Oregonians live — while the No side largely prevailed elsewhere.

Vote-rich Multnomah, Washington, Clackmas, Marion, and Lane counties powered the Yes camp — although they weren’t alone in voting yes.

Oregon’s coastal counties backed Measure 101 too, save for Coos Bay and Douglas counties. Deschutes County, in central Oregon, also voted yes, as did Jackson County, an inland county that borders California.

In Multnomah County, home to Portland, the margin of victory was nearly four-to-one, with the Yes side netting nearly 80% of the vote.

“Voters have spoken, and lawmakers now have a clear mandate. Oregonians believe everyone deserves access to affordable healthcare,” said Yes on Healthcare’s Patty Wentz, speaking on behalf of the coalition that came together to successfully defend Medicaid. “The other big message from this campaign is healthcare should not be a political pawn, and Oregonians are going to band together against anyone who tries to take it away.”

NPI took a position in favor of a YES vote on Measure 101 last year and joined the Yes on Healthcare coalition to campaign in favor of today’s outcome. We’re absolutely thrilled to have prevailed by such a large margin.

So is the Oregon Democratic Party.

“Tonight, the Republican forces that sought to dismantle our hard-won health care benefits for children and families went, once again, down in defeat,” said a jubilant Chair Jeanne Atkins. “Oregonians made it known, loudly and clearly, that everyone deserves access to affordable health care, and that Medicaid is essential for children, seniors, people with disabilities and working families. In Oregon, we believe ALL children should have healthcare coverage.”

“The Democratic Party of Oregon was proud to unanimously pass an emergency resolution in November to support Measure 101. Working alongside the Yes for Healthcare Coalition, we are now even more proud of the work of our county parties to Get Out the Vote and help deliver this decisive progressive victory. Across Oregon, neighborhood leaders and party volunteers pounded the pavement, talking to their communities about why we needed to pass Measure 101.”

Atkins went on to note that the DPO knocked on 35,000 doors across the state as part of its efforts to support tonight’s victory.

“Democrats’ enthusiasm and effectiveness during this Special Election is just a preview of what we are ready to accomplish in November,” Atkins added.

“Our dedication to promoting the values that unite us is stronger than ever and we will use it to support Democratic candidates across the state. This means re-electing Governor Kate Brown — a vocal champion for Measure 101 — and progressive candidates up and down the ticket.”

“This past weekend Oregon showed up — at marches, demonstrations, and doorsteps across the state — to fight for a better future. The energy and excitement that so many feel about taking back our nation is palpable. Today, we celebrate our victory. Tomorrow we get back to work.”

“Thank you to everyone for their hard work to pass Measure 101.”

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