As we approach the November 2012 election, it is timely to reflect on how well co-governance has worked in the Oregon House the last two years as Democrats and Republicans each held 30 seats.
Any reasonable assessment of co-governance would indicate that it has been, in the main, a success.
Republicans and Democrats managed to find a way to work together, with co-speakers of the House, co-chairs of every legislative committee, co-vice-chairs of every committee and "co" everything else.
Truly, it has been an experience in which legislators, regardless of party label, found a way to identify the middle on a host of pressing public policy problems. At a time when there appears to be almost nothing but acrimony, recrimination and name-calling in the presidential and congressional campaigns, it has been refreshing to watch Oregon’s elected officials work together to express the very definition of politics — the art of compromise.
Here are a few examples where legislators found common ground:
* Deciding not to propose any increased taxes while Oregonians try to recover from a stubborn recession — that could have driven another wedge between businesses and unions.
* Agreeing across party lines to balance the state budget, with a larger-than-normal ending balance.
* Moving ahead on health care reform that, at least in theory, proposes to provide health care to more Oregonians while slowing the growth in the cost of care.