WALDEN HIGHLIGHTS IMPACT ON LAKE COUNTY OF LOSING 'COUNTY PAYMENTS' PROGRAM
Before the full House of Representatives, Congressman Walden delivers speech outlining what is at stake for Lake County
January 24, 2007 - WASHINGTON, D.C. -
Congressman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) today addressed the House of Representatives to explain the dire consequences facing Lake County should funding for the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act be discontinued. Walden and Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) introduced H.R. 17 on January 4, the first day of the 110th Congress, a bill which would reauthorize the Act for seven years. The Act expired in September 2006, and without prompt reauthorization and funding, approximately 4,400 school districts in 615 counties in 39 states will have essential federal funding severed.
The speech before the House, the fifth in a series of 18 that will each day focus on a specific county in Oregon’s Second Congressional District that receives funds from the essential program, follows:
“Mr. Speaker. The failure of Congress to reauthorize the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act amounts to a breach of faith to more than 600 forested counties across America.
“For rural Lake County, Oregon – no stranger to economic challenges – this means that 93% of the county’s road budget has vanished. With 709 miles of road to maintain during rugged winters, basic maintenance and sure passage for school buses and emergency vehicles is crippled.
“County Commissioner Brad Winters says, “Without these dollars, the destruction of our roads through lack of repair will be inevitable. We will be back to dirt.”
“Failure to reauthorize delivers a blow to our schools too.
“School District Superintendent Judy Graham puts it this way: “Our past challenges have made it difficult to offer even limited services. Losing county payments funding will devastate the environment our children rely on to learn and grow.”
“My colleagues, Congress must pass HR 17 and keep the Federal Government's promise to timbered communities. Time is running out for them.”
Congressman Walden represents 20 counties in central, southern and eastern Oregon. He is a Deputy Whip in the House Leadership Structure and a member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce.