... on "Straight Talk"
We're kicking off our first "Straight Talk" show Saturday night, January 10th at 7pm with Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski.
It seems fitting to start our local "Meet the Press" style program with the Governor, since he'll be giving the State of the State speech on Monday.
Like many of you, we're interested in the Governor's plan to lead our state through very difficult economic times.
We met in the State Library where the Governor has a temporary office.
It's not where the Governor usually meets members of the media, but his ceremonial office in the Capitol building suffered smoke damage in a fire last year.
It was interesting to see the Governor's personal office with pictures,a sweater on a coat rack in the corner, a seal on the wall from his service in the U-S Marine Corps,photos of his family and from his time in the Oregon Supreme Court.
A military streamer or guidon hung on the wall from the HHC 2-641 Aviation Unit recently deployed to Iraq. In return, the unit took an Oregon flag with it to Iraq.
Before we got started,we had to talk about an important topic to us both;fly fishing.
The Governor, I am sure, is a much better fly fisherman than I am.
I love it, because my Dad is an avid angler up in Libby,Montana along the Kootenai River.
Governor Kulongoski just got back from fly fishing for steelhead last Sunday on the Big Creek,south of Nappa,Oregon.
After swapping fly fishing stories, we got down to business.
I laid out the grim economic news the federal government reported Friday.
The U-S jobless rate jumped to 7.2%. The two-point-six million Americans who lost their jobs in 2008 is the most since 1945.
Oregon's unemployment rate at 8.1 percent is among the highest in the nation.
And it could go into double digits before the recession is over.
Last year, in the Governor's State of the State speech, he said he believed Oregon is on the "threshold of a dream".
I asked him given the economy now, is it more of a nightmare?
Tune in Saturday night at 7pm to hear the Governor's answer.
He also defends his efforts to give tax breaks to help green companies grow in Oregon; and the decision to delay requiring stricter high school graduation requirements.
He also answers his critics who say he's not inspirational.
After you listen to the Governor, I'd love to hear your comments. You can post them here.
Stay tuned for "Straight Talk", and let's keep talking.
Happy New Year!