Home Back Issues December 2008 Q&A with Jeff Merkley on business

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

Revenge Forestry

November/December 2014
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
BY JONATHAN FROCHTZWAJG

A flare-up in the Elliott Forest raises questions about détente in Oregon’s timber wars.


Read more...

Powerlist: Law Firms

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation with leading partners at law firms in Portland and eastern Oregon, followed by October's powerlist.


Read more...

Downtime

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

I'm not very interesting,” says a modest Ray Di Carlo, CEO and executive producer of Bent Image Labs, an animation and visual effects studio.


Read more...

Woman of Steel

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Tamara Lundgren tackles the challenges—without getting trampled.


Read more...

100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon [VIDEO]

News
Thursday, October 02, 2014

Screen shot 2014-10-02 at 11.17.21 AMMore than 5,500 employees from 180 organizations throughout the state participated in the 100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon project.


Read more...

The Backstory

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014

In our cover story this month, Wendy Collie, CEO of New Seasons Market, and Kim Malek, owner of Salt & Straw, discuss their rapidly growing businesses and Portland’s red hot food scene. The conversation provides an interesting lens through which to explore trends in the grocery store and restaurant sectors.


Read more...

Innovation: a critique

News
Wednesday, October 08, 2014
1008 innovation thumbBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

A Design Week panel discussion raises questions about how innovative we really are.


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