Peggy Flanagan, Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota
Peggy Flanagan, the Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota, speaks at the 2023 Oregon Summit (Democratic Party of Oregon)

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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