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

Healthcare Perspective

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation with Majd El-Azma, president and CEO of LifeWise Health Plan of Oregon, followed by the Healthcare Powerlist.


Read more...

The short list: 5 hot coffee shops for entrepreneurs

Contributed Blogs
Friday, November 14, 2014

CupojoeBY JESSICA RIDGWAY

Oregon entrepreneurs reveal their favorite caffeine hangouts.


Read more...

October surprise

News
Sunday, October 12, 2014
roundup-logo-thumb-14BY LINDA BAKER

Cylvia Hayes, tabloid vs. watchdog journalism and the looming threat of a Cascadia earthquake.


Read more...

OB Poll: Wineries and groceries

News
Friday, October 24, 2014

24-winethumbA majority of respondents agreed: Local vineyards should remain Oregon-owned and quality is the most important factor when determining where to eat or buy groceries.


Read more...

What I'm Reading

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Peter Lizotte at ACME Business Solutions and Roger Busse at Pacific Continental Bank share their favorite reads.


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...

A Complex Portrait: Immigration, Jobs and the Economy

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

Oregon Business reports on the visa squeeze, the skills gap and foreign-born residents who are revitalizing rural Oregon.


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