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Entries in Ben Cannon (3)

Thursday
Oct102013

Change from Within

Recent appointments of Nancy Golden as Chief Education Officer and Ben Cannon as Executive Director of the Higher Education Coordinating Commission are a reminder of a unique Oregon truism — change comes from within.

Governor Kitzhaber took office in 2011 with a distinct interest in reforming major sectors of Oregon government. He pushed for significant reforms in health care, early learning and education. Kitzhaber has seen success in all of those within the walls of the Capitol, but true change happens at the agency level and among stakeholders who implement those changes every day.

The healthcare industry came to the table to craft a transformation plan that didn’t just pass the legislature, but became part of the DNA of the key public and private leaders in the healthcare industry in Oregon. Kitzhaber’s early learning initiatives were crafted by Oregon practitioners who understood the pitfalls of the current system, including its lack of outcome-based accountability.  

Education, however, took a much different road. Trusted advisors and key stakeholders familiar with Oregon’s political landscape drew the outline of a newly aligned K-20 education system. But unlike with other major initiatives, Kitzhaber turned the reins of implementation over to a distinct outsider — so-called change agent Rudy Crew.

Despite his reformer reputation, Crew didn’t make a dent in the mountain of change he was supposed to effect during his time in Oregon. Granted, he spent a great deal of time traveling the country on other pursuits, but the bigger issue, for him or any other reformer, was a fundamental lack of ability to see and understand the Oregon political landscape.

The education community — not unlike healthcare or corrections or any other major sector — is widely varied. Agreement is hard to come by, even among similarly interested parties. Interest groups include elected officials, business leaders, on-the-ground practitioners and parents — all of whom claim to be experts because, at a minimum, each individual went to school.

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Tuesday
Aug162011

Rep. Ben Cannon resigns to take policy post in Governor's office

Rep. Ben Cannon, D-Portland, today announced he would be resigning his seat to become Education Policy Advisor to Governor John Kitzhaber.

Rep. Ben Cannon, D-PortlandCannon has served part of Northeast Portland in the Oregon House since 2006. He is a private school teacher and said in today's press release he ran for the Legislature because he "hoped to help turn the tide on an education system that was strained to the breaking point." Cannon says he thinks Governor Kitzhaber "has helped create a rare window of opportunity for turning the tide."

Cannon often noted the challenge he faced in balancing his teaching job and family life with legislative duties. He is known as an environmental and education policy champion, and also was one of only two legislators who did not accept campaign contributions from corporate and organizational Political Action Committees.

Cannon will leave his job teaching humanities to middle schoolers at Arbor School of Arts and Sciences to take the full-time position in the Governor's office.

Under state law, the Multnomah County Commission must nominate Cannon's replacement from a list of nominees supplied by the Democratic precinct committee people in his legislative district.

Monday
Aug082011

New Leaders Emerge from 2011 Session

Here are House members the CFM state affairs team views as emerging leaders based on their performance in the 2011 Oregon legislative session:

  • Rep. Mark Johnson, R-Hood RiverRep. Mark Johnson, R-Hood River.  He was a virtual unknown coming to Salem after beating an incumbent Democratic member last November. His only previous government experience was chairing the Hood River School Board. Almost instantly, Johnson gained respect by legislators and lobbyists for his quick study, hard work and straightforward demeanor. He was a key behind-the-scenes player for the House GOP on education reform legislation. His success has been rewarded by being named co-chair of the interim House Higher Education Committee (just a subcommittee during the session). Many believe Johnson will be a key player on state education policy for years to come.
  • Rep. Val Hoyle, D-EugeneRep. Val Hoyle, D-Eugene.  2011 was Hoyle's first full session after being appointed to the House in late 2009. She is considered likable, smart and always fun to be around. For a new member, she made a big impact on her committees:  Business and Labor, Health Care and Higher Education. Republicans like her because of her business background and reputation as a straight shooter. She is in a safe Democratic seat, so she could serve for a long time. 

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