Capitol Letters: An Inside View of the Legislative Process

9780983816874: Capitol Letters: An Inside View of the Legislative Process

Do you ever wonder what goes on in the Capitol? How does a bill become law? How do our elected officials, many of whom are on opposite sides of the political spectrum, work together for the best interests of the public? When budgets are tight, how do they prioritize and fund much-needed programs for education, medical care, housing, public safety and so much more? How do they deal with the tough stuff and begin the conversation without falling victim to polarization and political drama? Representative Mitch Greenlick takes us inside the Capitol and gives us a front-row seat to the process of law-making. Most legislators send out some kind of newsletter to their constituents, but Greenlick's MitchMessages are unique in that he writes them himself; they are his own very personal account of legislative sessions as a participant/observer. Capitol Letters is a compilation of those messages, nuanced by his academic background, but written to be accessible to the ordinary citizen. During the day we listen to the state agencies talk about their budgets and how they expect to deal with them. It can be very dry stuff. Then in the evening we get to put faces on those dry numbers. And it is not possible to hold back tears as we listen to the stories of their fragile lives, their valiant efforts to deal with adversity, and the realization that the only thing that allows them to survive is the aid provided by the state. This is extraordinarily difficult, but I firmly believe we are ultimately judged by the way we treat the most vulnerable among us. I believe introducing long-term and difficult issues into the legislative process is one of a legislator s most critical responsibilities. It is, of course, not the only responsibility, and I would not consider it productive to spend all of my time tilting such windmills. But occasionally, a windmill turns into a dragon and becomes slayable.

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About the Author:

Representative Mitch Greenlick was elected to the Oregon House of Representatives in 2002. He serves on the House Committee on Health Care, a committee he has chaired or co-chaired since 2007. He also serves on the House Judiciary Committee. Representative Greenlick received his BS and MS from Wayne State University in Detroit and his Ph.D. in Medical Care Organization from the University of Michigan. Mitch was the founding director of the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research and was Vice President for Research, Kaiser Foundation Hospitals for more than thirty years. He retired from Kaiser Permanente in 1995. In addition to his duties as a legislator, Mitch is professor emeritus and past chair of the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine in the Medical School of Oregon Health and Science University. He has served on numerous boards and has been the recipient of multiple awards and honors, including the 2011 Health Center Hero Award, from the Oregon Primary Care Association.


Mitch Greenlick's insider s perspective of the week-to-week battles of the Oregon Legislature provides a fascinating and insightful lens on Oregon policy and politics. If you want to truly understand how Oregon laws are crafted, read this book. --Senator Jeff Merkley.

Providing week-to-week commentary on his experiences as a member of the Oregon House, Mitch Greenlick offers a much-needed inside look at the Oregon Legislative Assembly. Not only does he capture how the legislature works, but he offers personal insight into some of the most important legislative battles in Oregon over the past twelve years. Honest and personal, Capitol Letters sheds light on some of the most important legislative battles in the state over the past twelve years and how the Oregon Legislature actually works. --Richard A. Clucas, executive director, Western Political Science Association.

Representative Mitch Greenlick has created a detailed look at both the legislative process and the complex role of legislative service. The mix of his work and sharing of the emotional highs and lows, leave the reader with an insider's view of making law. I highly recommend this unusual and informative read. --Oregon Governor Barbara Roberts, 1991 to 1995.

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