NPI's Cascadia Advocate

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

Saturday, October 21st, 2023

Minnesota’s Peggy Flanagan keynotes Saturday breakfast at 2023 Oregon Summit

Greet­ings from Sunriver!

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of our team at NPI are here in this high desert resort town for the 2023 Ore­gon Sum­mit, the bien­ni­al strate­gic gath­er­ing of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty of Ore­gon, known as the DPO for short. The Ore­gon Sum­mit is a beloved tra­di­tion in the Beaver State that brings togeth­er pro­gres­sive activists, elect­ed lead­ers, and strate­gists for a week­end of plan­ning, dis­cus­sion, and socializing.

The Sum­mit kicked off last night with a wel­come recep­tion fea­tur­ing Gov­er­nor Tina Kotek. Today, there’s a full itin­er­ary of ses­sions which includes ple­nar­ies, work­shops, a ban­quet din­ner, and even a can­di­date forum with some of the con­tenders vying to take on Repub­li­can Lori Chavez-DeRe­mer in the 5th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict. The 5th is the dis­trict that rene­gade Demo­c­rat Kurt Schrad­er used to rep­re­sent, which the DPO could­n’t hold dur­ing last year’s midterms.

The first ses­sion was a break­fast with statewide elect­ed lead­ers, which just wrapped up. It began with insight­ful remarks from Labor Com­mis­sion­er Christi­na Stephen­son, who under­scored the impor­tance of fos­ter­ing a safe and dis­crim­i­na­tion-free envi­ron­ment in Ore­gon and empha­sized that it’s impor­tant for work­ing peo­ple to be able to access repro­duc­tive healthcare.

Draw­ing par­al­lels between the 1960s and the present, Stephen­son crit­i­cal­ly exam­ined the role of the Supreme Court, express­ing con­cern over its recent spate of awful deci­sions. She warned against the slip­pery slope the Court has put the coun­try on and called for vig­i­lant pro­tec­tion of civ­il rights in Oregon.

Stephen­son fur­ther urged the audi­ence to make wise choic­es in the upcom­ing elec­tions, high­light­ing the need to elect can­di­dates based on their qual­i­fi­ca­tions and con­vic­tions, rather than their per­son­al­i­ty or relatability.

Fol­low­ing Stephen­son, retir­ing Ore­gon Attor­ney Gen­er­al Ellen Rosen­blum took the stage, empha­siz­ing the impor­tance of data secu­ri­ty, pub­lic access to infor­ma­tion, and the pro­tec­tion of Ore­go­ni­ans’ privacy.

She tout­ed joint efforts with the state police and the FBI to address hate crimes and cel­e­brat­ed the suc­cess­ful imple­men­ta­tion of a statewide soft­ware project aimed at improv­ing child sup­port pay­ment distribution.

Rosen­blum also addressed the issue of stu­dent debt, advo­cat­ing for account­abil­i­ty among for-prof­it col­leges and the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of loan ser­vice providers. She high­light­ed the intro­duc­tion of a “gold stan­dard” of legal advice for state agen­cies and attor­neys, ensur­ing high-qual­i­ty rep­re­sen­ta­tion with­in the court system.

Rosen­blum also men­tioned her office’s work to defend Mea­sure 114, last year’s gun safe­ty ini­tia­tive, elic­it­ing a wave of applause from the audi­ence. She under­scored the urgency of address­ing issues relat­ed to elder abuse, hate crimes, and civ­il rights, as well as the need to con­front the fen­tanyl crisis.

Tobias Read, Ore­gon State Trea­sur­er, then shared an update on what his office has been work­ing on, high­light­ing his active role in man­ag­ing sig­nif­i­cant invest­ments, includ­ing Oregon’s Retire­ment Fund, to sup­port the old­er adult pop­u­la­tion. He drew atten­tion to the pos­i­tive impact of the Ore­gon Col­lege Sav­ings plans on col­lege atten­dance and grad­u­a­tion rates, and reaf­firmed his com­mit­ment to enhanc­ing diver­si­ty, equi­ty, and inclusivity.

Peg­gy Flana­gan, Lieu­tenant Gov­er­nor of Min­neso­ta, con­clud­ed the ses­sion with a pow­er­ful keynote speech, shar­ing per­son­al sto­ries and advo­cat­ing for greater coop­er­a­tion between trib­al nations and the fed­er­al and state governments.

She high­light­ed the new Min­neso­ta Demo­c­ra­t­ic major­i­ty’s leg­isla­tive achieve­ments in rais­ing wages, extend­ing unem­ploy­ment ben­e­fits, and pro­vid­ing uni­ver­sal, no-cost school meals for all stu­dents, some­thing Wash­ing­ton and Ore­gon haven’t got­ten done yet. Min­neso­ta Democ­rats, she explained, did­n’t want to waste the oppor­tu­ni­ty giv­en to them by vot­ers to gov­ern. That’s why they’ve been mov­ing bold­ly to get things done with their majori­ties, rather than being cautious.

Flana­gan also made light of some of the ridicu­lous com­ments and absurd sit­u­a­tions she’s faced dur­ing her time in pub­lic ser­vice, includ­ing a dis­parag­ing com­ment made by a crit­ic who advised her to dress like a lieu­tenant governor.

Next up are sev­er­al work­shops, which will be fol­lowed by a lunch with Demo­c­ra­t­ic mem­bers of Ore­gon’s con­gres­sion­al delegation.

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