Democratic candidate for state House District 32, representing all of Clatsop County, most of Tillamook County and a western portion of Washington County.
I have lived more than half of my life in Oregon. My parents were teachers. I was raised by my mother and two sisters. I attended law school at Lewis and Clark in Portland after earning a degree in regional planning/economics. I have worked since my first job as a paperboy at age 11. I had a successful small business/law practice for 24 years in the Clatsop/Tillamook area representing hundreds of children in court, and practicing criminal and family law.
I have two wonderful adult daughters and a grandson. I enjoy hunting, jazz guitar and country-western music. I hike our forests at every chance.
I have been the municipal judge for Gearhart for 21 years. I served as the president of the North Coast Land Conservancy and the Clatsop County Bar Association for six years and as chairman of the Cannon Beach Children’s Center, and the Surf Pines Homeowners Association. I served on an affordable housing project board in Cannon Beach, County Public Safety Coordinating Committee and the Juvenile Detention Facility Siting Council. I am in the Oregon State Bar Real Estate/Land Use Section. Early in my career, I served as a law clerk for Oregon Legal Services helping the poor.
I am running for state representative because I care passionately for the well-being of the North Coast area and its citizens. I bring a unique and important skill set to the tasks of making law and public policy. I am running because exporting our problems to the future is no longer an option. We need to balance Oregon’s budget or otherwise face even more painful cuts to education, transportation, our foster care system and assistance to our most vulnerable populations. Our population has growing numbers of homeless, untreated mentally ill and substance abusers. All this, while our cities, counties and the state lack the resources to improve matters. I am running because I believe educating our young people gives us hope for our future economic prosperity and democracy. I run because kicking the can down the road, and standing divided, will cause our region to face more teacher layoffs, larger class sizes, shorter school years, lower graduation rates, less support for programs like the trades and vocational education, and fewer people attending college. Our parents left to us an Oregon in good repair. I am running because we have a solemn duty to provide to future Oregonians comparable education, infrastructure and natural resources.
I would make a difference by bringing a fresh and independent viewpoint to Salem. I have ground-floor knowledge and experience with the tough problems facing our state because I have worked and volunteered for people and organizations that deal with tough problems. If we are to stem the rapid decline of our state-provided services, and our quality of life, we need to stop disinvesting in them. We should restore corporate income tax levels to those of the mid-1970s. Back then, they paid 18.7 percent of the state’s general fund. Corporations now pay 6.5 percent. They are not getting less for their tax money, they are simply paying less for government services. Those who have done well need to pay their fair share, not just because they can better afford it, not merely because their state and federal taxes have been cut, but also because, as corporate citizens, it is the right thing for them to do. However, I hold no illusions regarding the inclinations of Oregon’s corporations to help solve our state’s $1.6 billion budget deficit. This is where informed, passionate advocacy comes in, and where my proposals for corporate income tax reform constitute the single best hope we have for stopping our state’s slide to the bottom of America’s metrics of well-being. We have tax breaks that are not justified, multistate tax formulas that don’t make sense. We can solve this problem if our people know the facts and our legislators have the guts to do what is difficult: to stand up against powerful special interests who increasingly dominate the election process with unlimited money. Special interests too often dictate public policy and debate. I am the independent and progressive voice in this race. Unlike my opponents, I will represent all the people of this district. Our region needs sustainable jobs, conservative forest management, and increased vigilance for our communities’ need for abundant and pure water, and access to health care. Our citizens desperately need affordable housing and someone who knows the law and the communities to make it happen. Please vote for John Orr.