Entries in Oregon (6)


The Wacky Pot Law That Failed in Oregon

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Washington and Colorado became the first states to legalize pot -- but why not Oregon?

All three voted on marijuana-legalization ballot initiatives, and Washington and Colorado passed them by 10-percentage-point margins. But Oregon, which is bluer than Colorado, was the only state to vote against legalized pot on Tuesday, turning down Measure 80 54 percent to 46 percent. Some Election-Night observers are scratching their heads.

Part of the difference was that Oregon’s initiative failed to gather support from big-time donors. Or perhaps it’s also that Oregon’s law was kind of wacky: It would have turned the state, effectively, into a pot dealer.

The new laws in Washington and Colorado direct state boards to license and regulate commercial pot growers, processors, and sellers, with the states reaping tax revenues from the new commerce. (If those laws are implemented, that is; there are still doubts over whether the federal government will seek to block them). The laws loosely followed models suggested elsewhere, and both were supported financially by the Drug Policy Alliance, a national drug-policy-reform group.

In Oregon, had Measure 80 passed, the state would have licensed sellers and processors — but instead of regulating its sale, the state would have bought the weed, packaged it, stamped it with a state seal and a potency grade, and sold it to customers at a profit.

This all would have been done by something like ABC stores in liquor-controlled states: An Oregon Cannabis Commission (OCC) would have run all ends of the process, finally selling it at OCC stores. Profits would have gone to purchases, testing, grading, shipping, promotion of Oregon hemp and hemp-made biodiesel, and back to the state’s general fund. Like an actual drug dealer, the state could have stopped selling it to any legal, 21-and-over buyers who became pot-addled derelicts (failing to live up to “statutory or common-law dut[ies]“).

But the oddest thing about Oregon’s failed law was its preamble, which jumped quickly to a history lesson about George Washington’s cannabis growth and the preference of “Governeur Morris of Pennsylvania, who spoke at the U.S. Constitutional Convention in 1787 more than any other delegate” for marijuana over tobacco. It also called marijuana’s legal ban “liberticidal.”

Paul Stanford, the initiative's main backer, for his part, has vowed to push the law again in 2014, unless the state legislature passes it first.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Has Coffee with Vets as Romney Addresses VFW Convention

YURI GRIPAS/AFP/Getty Images(PORTLAND, Ore.) -- While Mitt Romney was courting votes at the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Reno, Nev., President Obama on Tuesday ventured to the Gateway Breakfast House in Portland, Ore., sliding into a restaurant booth for a cup of coffee and an intimate “roundtable discussion” with three retired American service members and veterans of foreign wars.

"How's it going guys?  I just wanted to come by and say thank you," Obama said as he took a seat in the alcove in the back of the room.

The president explained that he had addressed the VFW gathering on Monday and wanted to hear firsthand about their experiences interacting with the Department of Veterans Affairs.  Much of the conversation was out of earshot of traveling press pool members who were allowed to glimpse the encounter inside the bustling breakfast joint.

One of the veterans seated with Obama was overheard asking about a rumor that the administration was backing a pay cut for some members of the National Guard.  The president insisted the rumor was “false.”

"So we can clear that one up right away.  You're hearing that from your commander in chief," Obama said.

The group also discussed access to care for veterans in rural areas, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and care for disabled veterans, according to reporters on the scene.

Obama was in Portland Tuesday on the fourth stop of his three-day western states swing.  He attended two fundraisers for his re-election campaign expected to raise a combined $1.2 million.  He then headed to Seattle for two evening high-dollar fundraisers at the private home of Costco co-founder Jim Sinegal.

The president will round out his trip Wednesday, flying to New Orleans, where he will attend more campaign events before returning to the White House later in the evening.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


What to Watch for in Oregon, Nebraska and Idaho Voting Contests

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Voters will go to the polls in Idaho, Nebraska and Oregon on Tuesday.

Oregon and Nebraska both host their presidential primary contests, though those races have ceased to get any significant levels of attention now that the GOP race is all but decided. 

Idaho holds its state and congressional primary, the first closed primary in the state’s history.

Here’s a list of four things to watch for Tuesday night:

Nebraska Senate Primary

The Nebraska Senate race will be a key race for Republicans and Democrats in the fall.  Republicans view the state as one of their best chances to pick up a seat from Democrats, particularly since the retirement announcement of Nebraska’s Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson.

Republican and Democratic voters in Nebraska will both select their nominees for the race on Tuesday.  On the Democratic side, Bob Kerrey, the former governor and senator for the state, is considered the likely nominee.  The Republican race is more fluid.

There are three candidates in the Republican race: Jon Bruning, the state’s attorney general, Deb Fischer, a state senator, and state treasurer Don Stenberg.  Bruning, 43, has long been considered the favorite, but heading into the primary he faces a late in the game surge from Fischer, 61.


Strong turnout is sometimes interpreted as a sign of enthusiasm, as was the case in Wisconsin’s primary for their recall election last week.  Republicans were heartened by the strong turnout for Gov. Scott Walker, despite the fact that he was already the presumed candidate (after all, he is the one being recalled).

In Nebraska, turnout will be driven at least to some degree by the senate primary.  Nevertheless, strong turnout for either side in Nebraska and Oregon will likely be interpreted as a sign of enthusiasm about the general election in those states.


At stake in Tuesday’s contest are 63 delegates, though the 35 delegates in Nebraska will not actually be awarded until July, as Tuesday’s primary is a beauty contest.  Mitt Romney has 973 delegates, according to ABC News calculations, a little less than 200 delegates shy of the 1,144 he needs to win his party’s nomination.

It is mathematically impossible for Romney to hit 1,144 on Tuesday night.  The earliest that can happen is May 29, when Texas holds its primary.

The Surprise Factor

Last week, the primary development that had everyone talking was the surprisingly strong performance of federal inmate Keith Judd in the Democratic presidential primary in West Virginia.  Though it was well known that President Obama is not exactly popular in the Mountain State, the 40 percent of the vote Judd received still took observers by surprise.

There are no prison inmates on the ballot in Oregon or Nebraska’s Democratic primaries, but a surprise factor like a strong performance by “uncommitted” against Obama in Nebraska, or a big turnout in either party’s primaries in Oregon, could still emerge.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Tiger Suit Won't Make Oregon Congressman Quit

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(PORTLAND, Ore.) -- Oregon Representative David Wu, who has been embroiled in controversy over leaked e-mails sent to staff that included a photo of him wearing a tiger suit, says he has no plans to resign from his seat in Congress.

State Republican Party Chairman Allen Alley and two newspapers have called on Wu to resign, while seven of the congressman's staffers, including his chief of staff, have resigned.

"The people of Oregon have selected me to do a job and I'm going to do it," Wu tells ABC News affiliate KATU-TV in Portland.

In the interview, Wu acknowledged that some of his behavior was erratic and odd during his re-election campaign. He said he is undergoing mental health treatment and is taking medication.

"I want to make it a little bit easier for those who want help or need help to appropriately get it and to not be ashamed of it and to be able to talk about it," Wu told KATU-TV when asked why he spoke on the matter to ABC’s Good Morning America.

Wu said that the low point with his personal issues came with the death of his father in October, at the height of the seven-term congressman's re-election campaign.

Wu said the photos were taken while he was "joshing around" with his children late at night in October just before Halloween, after they had flown in from Washington, D.C. In the interview with KATU he apologized again for sending them, saying it was inappropriate.

Earlier this week, Wu told The Oregonian that he took prescription painkiller from a campaign donor back in October, which led to his erratic behavior.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Rep. David Wu Tells ABC News: I Sent Emails, Sought Treatment

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- In his first network interview since reports that his staff pushed him to get psychiatric help just before the November election, Oregon Congressman David Wu admitted he sent “unprofessional” emails to his staff, including a photo of himself in a tiger costume.

“Last October was not a good month, it was very stressful. I did some things, I said some things which I sincerely regret now. And as a result of those things I saw fit to consult professional help, I got the help I needed then. I am continuing to consult medical help as I need it and I’m in a good place now,” Wu told ABC News.

Wu said he’s being treated now with medication and counseling after the “intervention” staged by his staffers. The Oregonian has reported that some of the staff had tried to find out if there was a psychiatric hospital ward that would admit Congressman Wu.

“I don’t know what they were seeking,” Wu said. “We had several meetings, we had a lot of meetings in a campaign and…campaigns are very, very stressful.”

“I saw appropriate medical help at the time and I am continuing to do that,” he said.

Wu, a father of two, admitted to sending odd emails to staffers in the middle of the night, including a photo of himself dressed up like a tiger, despite warnings that a Halloween costume could do damage to his campaign.

“It was unprofessional, inappropriate," Wu said.

At least six staffers have left Wu’s office. But despite his string of odd behavior the congressman said he is fit to serve and hopes that going public will help others seek the help they need.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Pitches for John Kitzhaber in Portland

Photo Courtesy - Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images(PORTLAND, Ore.) -- President Obama went to bat for Oregon gubernatorial candidate John Kitzhaber in Portland Wednesday evening, arguing that the state needs him one more time.

“You need him again, you need him one more time,” Obama said at a rally at the Portland Convention Center.

Kitzhaber served as governor twice before, from 1994 to 2002, and is running for a third term in a close race against Republican Chris Dudley, a former NBA player.

“This should not be a difficult choice,” Obama quipped.  “I know you have a race where both candidates are talking about change.  But there’s only one candidate who has delivered change.  And that’s John Kitzhaber.  You know John’s track record.”

Wednesday's stop is the first of Obama's six-city, five-state, four-day Western swing in the lead-up to election day.  With a long road ahead of him, the president, who coughed many times during his speech, has his work cut out for him as he’s feeling a bit under the weather.

“I’m getting a cold. I’m actually getting over it but you know I would suspect by the end of this speech I am going to be hoarse.  But I know it won’t matter because you are going to be fired up even if you can’t hear me.”

The president said that it is up to voters to tell the Republicans that they have not forgotten about their time in office.

“It is up to you to tell them we haven’t forgotten.  We don’t have amnesia, and we don’t want what you’re selling because we’ve tried it before and we didn’t like it because it didn’t work.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio