Electing a Governor

CLP Current Event: October 23, 2018

Electing the chief executive of our state is a key decision for voters. What criteria should be used? This week’s CLP Current Event has some great articles and strategies for tackling this hot topic!

Brought to teachers by Susie Marcus, CLP consultant, with CLP staff.

News Sources

ISSUES (6 articles):
Oregon governor’s race: Where Kate Brown, Knute Buehler stand on 9 key issues, The Oregonian, October 19, 2018
“Both candidates have submitted to a series of interviews with The Oregonian/OregonLive to discuss their views on a range of issues — from abortion to taxes to affordable housing — for the Platforms 2018 series.”
CLP: Examines candidates stances on PERS, health care, house, education, homelessness, taxes, state spending, abortion, and gun control

Where They Stand: Oregon’s Gubernatorial Candidates on Education, by Lauren Drake, OPB, October 17, 2018
“Brown and Buehler have a surprising number of policy ideas in common when it comes to fixing the state’s public schools. They both want to see a longer school year and have called for extending it by two weeks to the national average of 180 days.”

Where They Stand: Oregon’s Gubernatorial Candidates on Health Care, by Dirk VanderHart, OPB, October 17, 2018
“The fight is emblematic of a key difference between Brown and Buehler. Time and again in recent years, Brown has pushed expanding health coverage to more Oregonians. Time and again, Buehler has opposed the expansions — largely on fiscal grounds.”

PERS may be defining issue of Oregon governor’s race, by Ted Sickinger, The Oregonian, October 17, 2018
“There is a limited menu of changes to the pension system considered economically meaningful and legally viable in light of past decisions by the Oregonian Supreme Court. None would erase the pension deficit, though it is possible to make cost reductions that would help employers.”

Phil Knight sinks another $1 million into the 2018 election, by Hillary Borrud, The Oregonian, October 16, 2018
“Knight has already given a record-shattering $1.5 million directly to the Republican candidate for governor in Oregon, Knute Buehler, a lawmaker and orthopedic surgeon from Bend.”

Campaign Cash Reports Show Races For Oregon Governor, Ballot Measures Chugging Along, by Dirk VanderHart, Jeff Mapes, and Lauren Drake, OPB, October 4, 2018
“The recent disclosures provide a glimpse into contests beyond the governor’s race, offering new insight into which ballot measure campaigns and candidates for the state Legislative Assembly are attracting interest from donors.”

ENDORSEMENTS (4 articles):
WW’s November 2018 Endorsement for Oregon Governor, by WW Staff, Willamette Week, October 17, 2018
“Despite our reservations, we are picking Brown, because she’s an intelligent, honest public servant whose progressive values align most clearly with the constituents she seeks to serve. And we are hopeful the security of a term free from re-election concerns (she cannot run again in 2022) will provide her the courage, decisiveness and vision that she has lacked so far.”

Our Opinion: Buehler brings necessary tension, by Portland Tribune Editorial Board, Portland Tribune, October 16. 2018
“In an era when political campaigns are designed to polarize voters, it may seem odd, but our endorsement in the governor’s race is based on a belief that Oregon needs more conflict.”

Editorial endorsement: Knute Buehler for Oregon governor, by The Oregonian Editorial Board, The Oregonian, October 13, 2018
“Before Oregonians cast their vote for governor they should first recognize what this race is not about. It’s not about abortion rights, despite ads attempting to cast it as a wedge issue between pro-choice Democratic Gov. Kate Brown and her pro-choice Republican opponent, Rep. Knute Buehler.”

The Skanner News Endorsements for Statewide Elections 2018, by The Skanner News, The Skanner, October 12, 2018
“Polling is tight in some races this year, notably the governor’s race between Democratic incumbent Kate Brown and incumbent Knute Buehler, and as always, turnout is critical.”

GENERAL (5 articles):
Oregon Environmental Group Putting Record Resources into Governor’s Race, by Nigel Jaquiss, Willamette Week, October 19, 2018
“This week, the Oregon League of Conservation Voters recorded a $250,000 contribution from its national affiliate, by far the largest check the organization’s political action committee has ever received.”

In Oregon’s Gubernatorial Race, Winning Isn’t The Point For Independent Candidate, by Anna Griffin, The Oregonian, October 17, 2018
“Where the soft-spoken Willamette Valley cabinetmaker really wants to make an impact is in campaign finance reform – something of an irony in this year in which Democrat Kate Brown and Republican Knute Buehler are breaking the record for spending in a gubernatorial race.”

The 13 most important governor elections in 2018, briefly explained, by Stavros Agorakis & Dylan Scott, Vox, October 13, 2018
Beyond the usual issues, there’s one other big reason to pay attention to governors this year: Governors who are elected in 2018 will almost all still be in office in 2021, when the next round of congressional redistricting starts. In many states, governors will wield a veto pen over the new House and state legislative maps.

The Latest: Teens question Oregon gubernatorial candidates, AP News, October 2, 2018
“Oregon high school students posed questions on topics from foster care to gun restrictions to LGBTQ bullying during the first debate between the state’s main gubernatorial candidates.”

Washington Post Puts Oregon Governor’s Race in National Context, by Nigel Jaquiss, Willamette Week, September 17, 2018
“The Post put Oregon in the context of other blue states, including Vermont, Maryland and Massachusetts, where most voters are Democrats but the governor is a Republican. Oregon has not elected a GOP governor since the late Vic Atiyeh defeated Ted Kulonogoski (a Democrat who would later serve as governor from 2003 to 2011) in 1982.”

Questions to Consider

  • Who is Kate Brown?
  • Who is Knute Buehler?
  • What are the main issues in this gubernatorial campaign? On what issues do they agree? On what issues do they disagree?
  • Do their differing positions on the Sanctuary law repeal help to contrast their ideas? What differences do they have about pensions, education and housing?
  • What does a governor do?
  • What is leadership?
  • How does campaign money influence governor races? Should there be limits on campaign spending?
  • Does this governor race reflect the polarization of the political climate across the country? What effect does polarization have on elections?
  • What do the political ads for both candidates say about how elections are conducted?
  • What does the ideal governor look like?
  • Who are the less known candidates for governor? Should they have equal time?

Background and More

League of Women Voters’ Guide, League of Women Voters

How to Judge a Candidate, League of Women Voters, October 19, 2018

Governor’s race is most expensive in Oregon history, by Gary A. Warner, The Bend Bulletin, September 24, 2018

You know about Oregon’s governor race. Now learn about the 35 others., The Associated Press,The Oregonian, September 23, 2018

Brown vs. Buehler: A closer look at the contentious ads in Oregon’s gubernatorial race, by Mila Mimica & Chris Willis, KGW, August 6, 2018
“A contentious gubernatorial race in Oregon is brewing between incumbent Gov. Kate Brown (D) and State Representative Knute Buehler (R), one that has brought fierce advertising to your local airwaves a little early this election season.”

Lesson Plans

How Should We Choose People for Positions of Authority?, Foundations of Democracy
Middle School
High School

The State Governor, iCivics
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Constitutional and Legal Connections

Constitution of Oregon 2017, Article V: Executive Branch, Oregon State Legislature

Oregon State Social Science Standards

8.8 Evaluate information from a variety of sources and perspectives.
8.17 Examine the development activities of political parties and interest groups and their affect on events, issues, and ideas.
8.26 Examine a controversial event, issue, or problem from more than one perspective.
HS.28 Evaluate how governments interact at the local, state, tribal, national, and global levels.
HS.29 Examine the structures and functions of Oregon’s state, county, local and regional governments.
HS.30 Analyze the roles and activities of political parties, interest groups and mass media and how they affect the beliefs and behaviors of local, state, and national constituencies.
HS.33 Explain the role of government in various current events.
HS.35 Examine the pluralistic realities of society (e.g., race, poverty, gender and age), recognizing issues of equity, and evaluating need for change.
HS.59 Demonstrate the skills and dispositions needed to be a critical consumer of information.
HS.60. Analyze an event, issue, problem, or phenomenon from varied or opposing perspectives or points of view.

We the People Lesson Connections

Middle School, Level 2

  • Unit 6, Lesson 29: What are the rights and responsibilities of citizenship?
  • Unit 6, Lesson 30: How might citizens participate in civic affairs?

High School, Level 3

  • Unit 6, Lesson 33: What does it mean to be a citizen?
  • Unit 6, Lesson 34: What is the importance of civic engagement to American constitutional democracy?