Election Night brings big wins and promise for Oregon's natural legacy

November 12, 2012

Election Day was very good for Oregon's environment. All told, 81% of candidates endorsed by OLCV won their races. Most significantly, the Oregon House now has a pro-conservation majority, and we strengthened the conservation advantage in the Oregon Senate. With additional wins in statewide races, Oregon's environmental community has many reasons to celebrate.

Two of OLCV's top targeted candidates, Ben Unger in HD 29 and Joe Gallegos in HD 30, defeated anti-conservation incumbents. We also made pro-conservation gains with the wins of Shemia Fagan (HD 51), Chris Gorsek (HD 49), David Gomberg (HD 10), John Lively (HD 12), and Brent Barton (HD 40).

As importantly, while our targeted pro-conservation candidates were winning those races across Oregon, not a single pro-conservation incumbent member of the legislature lost their re-election campaign. Every incumbent who supported protecting clean air, clean water, and protecting Oregon's natural legacy won their race – some having to overcome an onslaught of negative mailers and television ads.

The Senate will maintain its ratio of Democrats and Republicans, but we are adding a pro-conservation voice with the election of Arnie Roblan (SD 5). And like the House, all pro-conservation incumbents in the Senate won their re-election campaigns.

OLCV-endorsed candidates also swept the statewide races. Kate Brown (Secretary of State), Brad Avakian (Labor Commissioner), Ted Wheeler (Treasurer), Ellen Rosenblum (Attorney General) and Richard Baldwin (Supreme Court) all won their races. Joining Governor John Kitzhaber, all of the statewide elected leaders in Oregon have strong pro-conservation credentials. In addition, Measure 84 (Estate Tax Repeal) failed and Measure 85 (Corporate Kicker for K-12) passed.

Wins for Oregon's natural legacy weren't limited to legislative and statewide races. In Eugene, coming off huge votes on banning single use bags and coal exports in Oregon, Betty Taylor won re-election to the city council. In Lake Oswego, OLCV endorsed candidate Jon Gustafson has been elected to the city council. And our endorsed candidate for Milwaukie City Council, Mark Gamba, also won his race. In Bend, Sally Russell and Doug Knight won their races for Bend City Council – bringing two strong pro-conservation voices to the group. And Alan Unger won re-election to the Deschutes County Commission. On the coast, two new pro-conservation Mayors have been elected – Sandra Roumagoux in Newport and Ron Brean in Yachats. Two local bond initiatives (Bend Parks and Willamalane Parks) both won.

Added to these successes were the key victories of the League of Conservation voters on the federal level. 10 of LCV's 12 "Dirty Dozen" congressional members were defeated this year along with four of the "Flat Earth Five." LCV's work also helped elect 53 Democratic Senators and two independents as well as the President. And in the Senate, no U.S. Senator who voted to support and defend the EPA's actions on global warming was defeated, despite millions of dollars spent by the fossil fuel industries attacking them for it.

Oregon's environmental community made huge gains in the general election across Oregon, but the promise will only be fullfilled if these new pro-conservation champions pass the laws needed to move the ball forward for Oregon's natural legacy. We've turned our attention to the 2013 Legislative Session, where we will ensure all legislators have the right information about the conservation community's priorities, and will educate Oregonians about what's at stake. Stay tuned!

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Oregon League of Conservation Voters | 133 SW 2nd Ave., Ste. 200 | Portland, OR 97204 |  Phone: 503-224-4011 | Fax: 503-224-1548