Oregon lawmaker speaks out after Gov. Brown vetoes funding

Medford, Ore. — Tuesday night, NBC5 News was the first to tell you the governor plans to veto funding for three southern Oregon projects. Now, a local representative said she’s doing it out of spite.

Harry and David Field, an irrigation project in Rogue River and the Holly Theater – all victims of the governor’s pen. Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced Tuesday, she’s vetoing funding for the projects from the transportation bill that passed the legislature this summer.

Local representative Sal Esquivel said the reason is clear.

“It’s my understanding my three projects were the only ones that were taken out. So it’s obviously it’s a vindictive state on the part of the governor,” he said.

Esquivel said the governor’s vetoes are a power play fit for a political drama. He said he was asked to vote in favor of a medical provider tax to fund Oregon’s Medicaid program.

He agreed, but asked for something in return – support for the projects. $1 million for the Holly, $750,000 for Harry and David Field, and about $1.9 million for the Bradshaw drop irrigation canal project.

“My job was done. I had committed to give them the one vote to get it out of the house and into the senate, I’d done so,” he said.

So what went wrong? According to Esquivel, he later agreed to help put a provision of the health care tax on the ballot.

“Evidently, the governor took exception to that, saying that I wasn’t in the spirit of the agreement,” he said.

For now, the three projects will have to find new funding and Sal Esquivel said Oregon’s political players will have to find a way to renew trust.

“I’m as good as my word. I gave my word, I did what I was supposed to do. Now it’s up to them to do what they’re supposed to do,” he said.

NBC5 News reached out to the governor’s office for a statement. We did not receive a response.

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