Legislative Call for Action: Keep the Guard in OR!

Back in June of 2003, ROP coordinated a weeklong Walk for Truth, Justice and Community that involved thousands of Oregonians. Walkers and their supporters were outraged by current policies entrenching not just wars abroad but also wars at home.  We marched from our starting point in Salem to take over the Governor’s office with veterans and military families at the front of the room.   We were there to demand that the Governor show some backbone regarding the role of the Oregon National Guard and other Oregon resources being deployed in the war/occupation.  Later that week, he delivered his strongest statement yet in opposition to the war in Iraq.

Fast forward 5 years and the Oregon National Guard is scheduled for a historic deployment of more than 3,000 soldiers, according to a recent Oregonian article.  That is more than half of the Oregon National Guard who come from every part of Oregon.

ROP and many other peace groups are members of the Campaign to Keep the Oregon National Guard Home.  We have been collecting petition signatures for months now and are scheduled to deliver them to the Capitol on Wednesday, January 21st.  A resolution to keep the Guard in Oregon will be introduced early in the Legislative session.  But we need the Governor and our State Senators and Representatives to know that it is not just Portland and Eugene and Corvallis who want the Guard to stay home.  It is Wallowa and Pendleton and Burns and Klamath Falls. 

Today marks the start of the 2009 Legislative Session.  Throughout the session we will send ROPnets focused on legislative action that is part of the ROP platform endorsed by our member groups (that’s you!). 

The first legislative call for action in 2009 is to make sure that your county is on record in support of keeping the Oregon National Guard in Oregon.  Here are the 3 easy steps.

Step #1 Check out the list below and find out if you county has less than 10 petition signatures calling for the Oregon legislature and governor to keep the Oregon National Guard in Oregon.  If so, download a petition today and send it in to the campaign (PO Box 42456, Portland, OR 97242) in time for the delivery on Wednesday, January 21st at the Capitol in Salem.  That means you need to act this week!  (Also let me know if you want to attend!)  Let’s all get 10!

Step #2 This one’s for everyone!  Call you State Senator and Representative and let them know that you want them to support the resolution to keep the Oregon National Guard in Oregon.  We’ll have a reference number soon, but for now, let’s welcome our elected representatives to Salem with a call from home that gets this up front and one their radar now.  You can find out who your legislator is by going to www.leg.state.or.us/findlegsltr/ and you can use the toll free capitol switchboard at (800) 332-2313 and they will connect you with your legislator.  A sample script is below.

Step #3 After you make your call, email me back at amy@rop.org so I can say thank you on behalf of democracy!  And so that we know which of our representatives have heard from us and what they had to say.

Here’s to concrete steps toward Rebuilding Oregon and Stopping the Wars at Home and Abroad in 2009!

Best-

Amy

Does Your County Have 10?
  Counties with Less Than 10 Petition Signers for the Campaign to Keep the Oregon National Guard Home.   Let’s all get 10!
Baker    1  
Clatsop    5 
Curry    5  
Grant    1 
Jefferson    1 
Morrow    2  
Umatilla    3 
Union    1 
Wasco    7  
Wheeler    1 
Gilliam    0 
Harney    0
Lake    0
Malheur    0
Sherman    0
Wallowa    0

Sample Script:

Hello, this is (name) calling from (town).  I am a constituent of (Senator or Representative).  May I speak with (Senator or Representative)?

I’m calling to ask the Senator/Representative to vote yes on the resolution to keep the Oregon National Guard in Oregon.

The current deployment will send half of the Guard to Iraq – that’s more than 3000 Oregonians from every part of the state. 

Oregon needs its National Guard to respond to forest fires and natural disasters and for search and rescue missions.

Will the Senator/Representative vote yes on the resolution to keep the Oregon National Guard in Oregon? (Take notes to share responses back with ROP.  Email amy@rop.org.)

Thank you.

If you leave a message, make sure to include your name, your town, the you are a constituent, why you are calling, and your phone number.

More talking points are below.

–The Authorization for Use of Military Force in Iraq (2002) is based on Iraq having weapons of mass destruction, harboring Al Qaida members
responsible for 9/11, and enforcing UN resolutions against Saddam Hussein’s regime, reasons which were never or are no longer valid.

–The Authorization for Use of Military Force of September 2001, which launched the "War on Terror," is overly broad and has allowed the US to
occupy Afghanistan and conduct airstrikes on other countries while chipping away Americans’ human, civil and constitutional rights.

–Oregonians have shown a desire to bring the troops home: 61 elected officials from 27 counties signed a letter to President Bush in September, 2007;
the Oregon State House and Senate passed resolutions in March and May, 2007; the cities of Corvallis, Portland and Eugene passed similar resolutions in
2006 and 2007; thousands of Oregonians have written letters, postcards and emails, made phone calls, marched and protested.

–Governor Ted Kulongoski told the Oregonian in October, 2006 that he believes the continued presence of U.S. troops in Iraq
"is making things worse" and that the U.S. should set a strict timetable for getting out.

–Legislation to de-federalize the Guard due to the expiration of the Iraq AUMF has been introduced in Vermont, New Jersey, and several other states.

–Oregon needs its National Guard to respond to forest fires and natural disasters and for search and rescue missions.

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