November 20, 2017 2:20 p.m.
State Senator Jeff Kruse and State Representative Dallas Heard talked about the upcoming session of the Oregon State Legislature and more during a lunchtime meeting of the Roseburg Area Chamber of Commerce on Monday.
Heard opened the presentation talking about the importance of the business community and said he understands issues that concern them as a fellow small business owner. Heard spent time going over the potential for a medical education facility to come to Roseburg. Heard said while it’s important for County Commissioners to do everything they can to change federal forest policy to help generate more income for the county, diversifying the economy is important as well. Heard said the federal government has “stolen away our heritage and our economy”. He acknowledged that many of his friends from high school have long since left the Roseburg area due to the lack of opportunity. Heard says the proposed medical facility would bring $90 million into the county with around 200 jobs. Heard said there is growing interest in the potential school at a statewide level and that’s something he hopes to help move forward as a member of the Oregon House.
Kruse began his presentation by acknowledging his situation. State Senator Sara Gelser has formally accused Kruse of inappropriate touching and physical contact over a period of years. She has claimed that at least 15 other women have had similar complaints. Kruse was stripped of his committee assignments due to the issue. Kruse referenced a saying credited to Andy Warhol that everyone gets their “15 minutes of fame”. Kruse told the crowd that “I have exceeded mine”. Kruse said since a formal process is underway he is not going to say anything to the media. Kruse did say that soon an independent investigator will be hired to look into the allegations against him. That report will be forwarded to the Conduct Committee. He said nothing more about the situation will be known until sometime in mid-January.
Kruse covered topics including a measure that will be on the January ballot. If approved, the legislation will levy a tax on insurance premiums and on hospitals, according to Kruse. Kruse also talked about the potential for making the State School Superintendent more accountable to the Oregon State Board of Education. Kruse said he hopes the shorter off year session of the legislature will focus on its intended purpose of making smaller budget adjustments and not trying to deal with major legislation. .
About 50 people attended the final 2017 chamber membership meeting, held at the Douglas County Fairgrounds.
State Representative Dallas Heard will talk more about the upcoming legislative session on the Morning Conversation Tuesday at 8:30 on News Radio 1240 KQEN.