Oregon PERS Retirees Political Action Committee (OPR-PAC)
Current directors of OPR-PAC are Steve Kunke, Greg Monahan, Jay Osborne, and Bob Oleson.
Contributions are used to pay lobbyists to represent member interests before the Legislature during sessions and in the interim between sessions. Contributions also may be used to support legislative candidates who it is hoped will be sympathetic to member interest.
OPR-PAC 2010 ENDORSEMENT PROCESS At three meetings before the November election, OPR-PAC endorsed a number of candidates for the Oregon Legislature and offered financial support to 11 of them. After 2003, when OPR-PAC support for legislative candidates translated into little legislative support, OPR-PAC applied its funds to supporting OPRI’s lobbying efforts before the Legislature and PERS but did not support individual candidates.
In the predicted and actually close election this year, OPR-PAC concluded that support of selected legislative candidates would be useful. A few OPRI members have (asked) how OPR-PAC selected those candidates. There were a number of criterion.
First was whether the candidate supported OPRI’s views on legislation affecting public employee retirees. These included the recently enacted bill to require binding verification of impending retirees’ retirement benefits. Another was OPRI’s 2009 bill on retirees loss of purchasing power. Accordingly OPR-PAC endorsed Senate and House leadership, Sens. Courtney and Devlin and Reps. Hunt and Hanna, and Reps. Schaufler and Kennemer. OPRI-PAC also endorsed Rep. Berger who represents an retiree-important district in Salem and who has been sympathetic to OPRI views.
Another criterion that needs to be recognized is whether a candidate can be elected, no matter how sympathetic to OPRI’s views. OPR-PAC supported two losing candidates, Rasmussen (House District 37) and Sen. Schrader (Senate District 20). Both were expected to win and the latter lost by a very narrow margin.
You will note that OPR-PAC supported three Republicans and eight Democrats, reflecting the judgment that in a very competitive race the Democrats have a longer-standing record of being more supportive of OPRI’s position than Republicans have. That is a fact of political life. OPR-PAC made a considered judgment that it and OPRI will be reviewing throughout the coming legislative session.
Politics aside, our OPR-PAC provides many services for OPRI. An organization needs to have support staff to keep things going smoothly, such as keeping track of revenue and expenditures, mailing lists and other routine functions. The PAC does that and also represents us in the political realm at the Legislature, other retiree organizations, the PERS Coalition, and the retirement system itself (PERS).
Each year your contribution to the OPR-PAC is eligible for the Oregon political contribution tax credit, up to $100 on a joint return and $50 on all others. Of course, you also may make other contributions any time of the year that are not eligible for the tax credit. (Updated November 17, 2010)
To contribute to the PAC, make your check to: OPR-PAC and mail to:
PO BOX 12945
Salem, Or. 97309