Q&A with Jeff Merkley on business

| Print |  Email
Archives - December 2008
Monday, December 01, 2008

JeffMerkleyTHE SENATOR’S BUSINESS

PORTLAND Shortly after he defeated Republican Gordon Smith in early November, U.S. Senator-elect Jeff Merkley caught his breath just long enough to talk briefly about how he would address the challenges facing Oregon businesses. The upset by Merkley, the former Democratic speaker of the state house, was the first time in 40 years that an incumbent Oregon senator has been unseated.

Q What have you heard from the business community about its biggest issues?
A While I was running, what I heard from the business community was that they didn’t think I could win. I don’t fault them for it. It is always David vs. Goliath when you take on a sitting senator. I didn’t get their support against an incumbent, but I’ll certainly be responding to their issues. I look forward to a full partnership.

Q The economy has tanked and everyone is hurting. What do you do first to help Oregon’s economy and businesses?
A We have to fuel the economy by creating living-wage jobs. We do that on two fronts: investing in infrastructure and in green energy. We cannot build a strong economic future if we are depending on foreign oil. The first press conference I went to [after being elected] was on infrastructure. This is just absolutely critical and needs to be funded. There is a long list of infrastructure projects [in Oregon] ready to go.

Q What are the biggest business issues in the state?
A The soaring cost of health care is a huge issue. When President Clinton came into office there wasn’t much consensus about fixing the health-care system. But I’m hearing from large and small employers that the system doesn’t work. There is now common ground to address this issue. [To combat low wages] we need to have strong universities to attract the knowledge economy and the higher-paying jobs. That is essential. We want strong employers to be attracted to Oregon. We need to expand and grow many of our business clusters. Our biggest opportunities are that we don’t have as much exposure to the housing collapse [as some areas.] And we have extraordinary potential in alternative energy.

Q Has the president-elect called to congratulate you?
A No. He may be a little occupied right now.

ROBIN DOUSSARD


Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

 

More Articles

Behind the curtain: What students should know about accreditation and rankings

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, December 04, 2014
120414-edurating-thumbBY DEBRA RINGOLD | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

How important are institutional and/or program evaluations provided by third parties in selecting a college or university program?


Read more...

Corner Office: Steve Tatone

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

Seven tidbits about the president and CEO of AKT Group.


Read more...

Top stories in 2014

The Latest
Thursday, December 18, 2014
10-listthumbBY LINDA BAKER

2014 was a year of wild contradictions, fast-paced growth and unexpected revelations.


Read more...

Three problems with Obama's immigration order

News
Wednesday, November 26, 2014

BY NISHANT BHAJARIA | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR112614-immigration-thumb

By now, anyone who knows about it has a position on President Obama’s executive order on immigration. The executive order is the outcome of failed attempts at getting a bill through the normal legislative process. Both Obama and his predecessor came close, but not close enough since the process broke down multiple times.


Read more...

Corner Office: Timothy Mitchell

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

A look-in on the life of Norris & Stevens' president.


Read more...

The short list: 4 companies engaged in a battle of the paddles

The Latest
Thursday, December 04, 2014
pingpongthumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Nothing says startup culture like a ping pong table in the office, lounge or lobby.


Read more...

Shifting Ground

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JOE ROJAS-BURKE

Bans on genetically modified crops create uncertainty for farmers.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS