Governor Kitzhaber touts progress and optimism for Oregon’s future in State of the State address
(Portland, OR) — Governor Kitzhaber invoked the spirits of Theodore Roosevelt and Ken Kesey in his State of the State address touting progress on policy initiatives and job creation, including momentum on public education and health care reforms necessary for long-term economic prosperity in Oregon. In his address to Portland City Club, the Governor praised the Legislature for putting problem-solving ahead of partisanship and called on Oregonians to continue to work together to ensure the state “emerges stronger and more united that where we began.”
“Though laid low by economic uncertainty, Oregon has shown bright this past year, in the resilience of our communities, in the civility of our political discourse, and in the optimism of our citizens,” said Governor Kitzhaber. “Because we recognize our shared responsibility in shaping our future, Oregon continues to be a citadel of the spirit."
Just home from a trip to Washington, D.C., where he attended meetings at the White House and Department of Health and Human Services, the Governor reported progress on Oregon’s health care transformation. He referenced a new report showing Oregon can reduce costs through the Oregon Health Plan by more than $3 billion over the next five years and described the unprecedented collaboration of major health systems to better coordinate care. The Governor said reaction to Oregon’s successes to date was favorable and expressed confidence that the federal government will invest significant dollars in Oregon’s health care transformation effort once the Legislature approves full implementation of the Oregon Health Insurance Exchange and Coordinated Care Organizations.
The Governor also called for new tools to ensure early childhood success, meet the state’s goal for 100 percent high school graduation, and better prepare Oregon students for college and careers. He is proposing legislation to ensure school accountability and better student outcomes that would allow Oregon to opt-out of the punitive provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind law.
“Our choice is clear," said Governor Kitzhaber. "We can stick with federal control and an Oregon high school graduation rate stubbornly stuck at 65 percent, or we can work together – as teachers, parents, legislative policy makers and the broader community – to devise a system that allows more flexibility while pushing every school and every district toward better student outcomes."
"Our priorities are the right ones. Our sense of urgency remains acute. We must maintain the courage to forge ahead with the promise of an even brighter future,” the Governor concluded.
For the Governor’s prepared remarks:
Audio will be available from the Portland City Club:
Schedule of rebroadcast can be found here:
Tim Raphael, 503-689-6117
Amy Wojcicki, 503-689-5324