Sunday, May 18, 2008

Here is an opinion piece that Barack Obama had published today in the Oregon Statesman Journal .

This is a defining moment. At a time when our nation is at war and our American dream is slipping away, we cannot settle for the status quo. In this election, Oregon can stand for change.

I've spent more than two decades working for change from the bottom up. I fought for jobs as an organizer in Chicago when the local steel plant closed. I stood up as a civil-rights lawyer for people who were denied opportunity. I helped expand health care to hundreds of thousands and gave a tax cut to working people in Illinois. I opposed this war in Iraq from the beginning, and when I got to Washington I stood up to the special interests to help pass the most far-reaching lobbying reform since Watergate.

I chose to run for president because I believe that the size of our challenges had outgrown the capacity of our broken politics to solve them. We cannot afford four more years of the same divisive fights in Washington that are more about scoring points than solving problems. We're not going to make progress if we continue to have a system driven by special interests.

We need to restore fairness to our economy. When I'm president, we'll give a tax cut to 1.8 million hardworking Oregonians and help struggling families keep their homes. We'll ensure that the 615,000 Oregonians who currently lack health insurance are covered and cut the cost of a typical family's premiums by as much as $2,500 per year. We'll create a $4,000 annual tax credit to help Oregon students cope with tuitions that have increased 27.5 percent since 1999.

And we'll turn the page on more than two decades of trade and economic policies that have favored Wall Street over Main Street. It's time to stop giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas and start giving them to companies that create jobs here at home.

Oregon has been a national leader in energy independence, passing a renewable portfolio standard, auto-emissions rules and incentives for biofuels development. I will build on Oregon's successes to move America on the path to a cleaner environment. I will devote $150 billion over 10 years to move us toward energy independence and invest in the green energy jobs of the future.

Oregon deserves a president who understands the unique environmental challenges facing the state. That's why I will develop a meaningful plan to restore decimated salmon stocks with the advice of all stakeholders, including fishers, farmers, tribes, environmentalists and foresters. That's why I will ensure that Oregonians have a say about whether and where we place onshore liquefied natural gas facilities in the state.

That's why I support county timber payments and will work with the Oregon congressional delegation to find a comprehensive, long-term solution that will provide Oregon communities the resources they need to invest in a strong education system and create a sustainable economy. And that's why I will work with Oregonians to develop a common-sense plan to conserve Oregon's woodlands.

Oregon knows we need less tough talk and more sound judgment on national security. When I am president, I will end a war in Iraq that I opposed from the start, give our troops and military families the support they have earned, and finish the fight in Afghanistan.

With a father from Kenya and a mother from Kansas, I know that my story is only possible in America. My family didn't have much when I was growing up, but they gave me love, a good education and hope — hope that in this country, no dream is beyond our grasp if we reach for it, and fight for it, and work for it. And the reason I'm running for president is to put the American dream within reach for every family in Oregon and in this country.

- Barack Obama

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