It is time to reflect on what is important. A wise man once told me, “Sometimes the right thing, and the hardest thing, are the same thing.” Over the last decade District 57, serving Umatilla, Morrow, Gilliam, Sherman counties, has been extremely blessed with prosperity from the Oregon Legislature. We’ve received funding for key developments — from school renovations, to housing projects, to public health opportunities, and so many more. Essentially, the state of Oregon has funded more than $200 million worth of projects within District 57 over the last 10 years.

Now, during this time of crisis, we must be prepared to modify our expectations. Our focus needs to shift from developing new opportunities for ourselves to rebuilding this great state. We’ve seen generosity and the power among us when we all come together.

Over the last week, we’ve watched many Oregonians endure tragedy, and whether we have been affected directly or not, we feel it. Families are losing their homes, their livelihoods, their possessions and, in some cases, their loved ones. Again, we may not be there, but we feel it. Our friends and neighbors across the state are facing the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and now extreme wildfires, and no matter our own personal situation, we feel it. 

An already tight state budget must now be realigned to help our fellow Oregonians with their most critical needs. Priorities that may have been deemed earlier as crucial could potentially be eliminated. These decisions won’t be easy, nor popular, but our shift may very well reflect the right thing and the hardest thing.

In tragedy comes courage and great strength, and I have no doubt my fellow Oregonians will rise from the ashes. These difficulties can’t and won’t hold us down forever. As a family, as a city, as a district, and as a state, it’s our responsibility to help pick up the pieces from this immense loss and offer our support.

Representative Greg Smith

House District 57

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